Zac Crawford provides a detailed training session plan for teaching proper shooting technique to young players. Zac holds a U.S. Soccer Federation 'A' License and National Youth License.
TRAINING OBJECTIVE: Teach Proper Shooting Technique
- HOP into the shot - accelerating with the last step.
- PLANT non-shooting foot with ankle beside the ball.
- LOAD up shot with a big back swing.
- LOCK the ankle of shooting foot and make a "fist" with toes.
- SEE the ball. Head should be down - player shouldn't be looking at the target while shooting.
- Body over the ball.
- SWING. Strike through the middle of the ball. Should hit the ball with the hard spot just above the knuckle of the big toe.
- Keep knee bent and over foot during followthrough.
- STEP. Finish forward and land on shooting foot.
"Do it right, then do it fast."
Each player with a ball will be lined up across from a partner 5-6 yards away. Use weak foot to teach striking technique as it requires more focus from the player.
Teach in three chunks:
- PREPARE (hop, plant, load, lock)
- STRIKE (see, body over ball, swing)
- FOLLOW (step, finish forward). Do it right, then do it fast.
Practice the motion without striking ball at first, then strike the ball after the first two chunks have been taught and players are 20-30 yards apart.
- Prepare the ball out in front and approach at an angle.
- Use the 'HOP' to plant foot so ankle is beside the ball and pointing in direction of the target.
- LOAD the leg with a big backswing.
- LOCK heel down and toes up for inside foot. Curl toes into a fist for laces striking. This should create a straight line from the knees to the toes.
- SEE the ball.
- Body over the ball.
- Hip-raise to keep players from stubbing their toe.
- Weight should be on planted foot.
- SWING - snap down onto the ball stopping just short of impact with most forward part of knee in front of the ball.
- Put 1st two chunks together (PREPARE & STRIKE) without the ball and follow through with knees to chest.
- Now STRIKE the ball and focus on the shooting step and finishing forward.
Two large goals about 36-40 yards apart with two corner flags in between, placed slightly outside of the post. Two GK's (green in the image) stand by the corner flags. If you only have one GK, the coach can substitute for the second GK.
Field players are on two teams (white and blue in the image). Teams line up as shown. In this example, the white team starts with the ball. Each player at the front of the line strikes the ball to the GK's hands. GK then distributes the ball by rolling to the passing player who is making a run towards the goal. The passing player controls the ball and shoots at the empty goal. GK then turns around 180 degrees and repeats with the blue team. The goal is to be aware so that players are not shooting on the same goal at the same time.
1st variation: GKs now roll ball into middle instead of the outside. 2nd variation: put GKs in goal and have field players rotate in as the wall players standing at the corner flags. Add different types of combinations, half-volleys, full-volleys, headers, etc.
Coaching Points: Use positive first touch to receive ball and prepare it for striking. First touch should be towards the center to give as much of an angle as possible. ACCURACY over power.
- Go directly at goal
- Don't stutter step (this will make you lose speed)
- Step past the ball on the last step to force the HOP
- Accelerate through the ball with the shot