Off-Season Training Part 4: Improve Your Shooting
Staying motivated when you've been off the field for a while can be challenging, but keeping your skills up to par will pay off with every shot when the season starts heating up again. Here are some great drills and games, plus ways you can stay in tip-top form and improve your shooting, even when you're cooling your heels in the off-season!
Knock 'em Down
Training cones are a terrific tool for soccer players and can help improve your overall skill level and shooting ability. These lightweight disc cones can be set up in line, with between three to four feet in between each cone. Players line up facing each other on opposite sides of each cone, with one player receiving a ball. The goal of this particular game is to hit the cone in the least number of shots possible before you have to pass the ball off to your opposing player. Want a little variation? Have players see how many cones they can successfully knock over in a one-minute interval before resetting the game. Move players further apart as their accuracy improves.
Finish It Up
In soccer, finishing drills are incredibly important, because no scoring situation is the same as the one before. When you're shooting the ball, you have to be conscious of the target and precisely how to hit it. Try the Heads and Tails finishing drill, where players focus on hitting a kicked soccer ball into the goal with feet and with hands, having to complete a 90-degree redirect of the ball into the net.
Shoot to Score
There are plenty of statistics in soccer, but one of the most important sets of data tell you where you're most likely to be successful when you shoot for a goal. A recent study indicates that there truly is a "sweet spot" in the soccer goal, but would you be surprised to hear that the bottom of the goal is where the most shots are made? Keeping the ball close to the ground is the key to success when you're going for a goal. May the odds be ever in your favor...if you shoot for the bottom of the goal, and the bottom left to be exact! This particular study showed that 22 percent of shots sent to the bottom left corner of the goal made it in. Nearly two-thirds of scoring is done on the bottom third of the net, and the corners are also a better bet for getting the ball in. This precise placement means you need to be able to drop the ball exactly where you want it to go, which requires advanced shooting skills.
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