Goal scoring - Technical player development

"Sometimes in football you have to score goals" - Thierry Henry

The ability to score goals has defined the careers of some of the greatest players, however due to the combination of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo seemingly breaking scoring records weekly, scoring goals is a skill taken for granted. A goal can be created by magnificent team play or by an individual moment of magic and can send a stadium full of spectators into a frenzy, in this article we will look at 5 ways to improve your finishing.

1)      Technique

Being able to place the ball exactly where you want it to go is a skill that is made proficient through practice and hard work. The most common skill used in shooting are the finesse and power shots. The finesse shot is achieved by hitting the ball with the instep technique (image 1) and the power shot (image 2) is achieved by hitting the ball on the laces on the boot.

Image 1: Instep technique uses the inside of the boo - This technique is often used by players trying to achieve more accurate shots on goal.

Image 2: Laces technique uses the top and centre of the boo.  This technique is ideal for players trying to generate the maximum power into their shots to beat the goalkeeper.

Finesse shots provides accuracy and placement to put the ball out of the reach of the goalkeeper whilst the power shots look to beat the goalkeeper with pure speed. Both techniques are equally important as having a range of skills at hand is the best way to fool the goalkeeper, so get practising!


2)      Understand the football

For all young people it is important you understand manipulating the ball and how to do it (see picture below for examples). In the age of the knuckle ball as well as old techniques such as curling and lifting the ball, watching videos of the greats and trying to replicate it in the playground is no easy feat, however brush up on your knowledge of the ball and how it works so you can place the ball exactly where you want it.

-          The Sweet Spot will provide will allow the cleanest contact with the ball hitting it will allow the ball to move straight in the direction your foot is facing on contact with the ball.

-          In-swing/Out-swing hitting the ball with provide you with the curl you need to deceive the goalkeeper allowing the ball to swing from outside the post back on target.

-          Lifting the ball will allow the striker to put the ball in the top corners or allow you to carryout cheeky Chip finishes

-          Hitting the ball into the ground is good for volleying the ball as it can provide much needed control or an unexpected bounce that can leave a goalkeeper stood watching as the ball loops over his head.

Understanding the ball and using combinations such as an in-swinging lifted shot will allow the player to manipulate the ball in the best possible way.


3)      Movement is the key

All the best strikers know how to move a defence in order to create the space around the goal, movement off the ball is extremely you have strikers like Jamie Vardy who makes run behind the strikers to create a chance on goal(image 3), or players like Sergio Aguero (image 4)who makes runs across players in order to pin defenders before hitting dynamic shots (image 5).

Image 3: Jamie Vardy makes an attacking run in behind the final line of the defence to put him through on goal.

Image 4: Manchester City FC striker Sergio Aguero has achieved one of the best goal scoring records in premier league history with an excellent goal to game ratio.

When attacking the area from a wide ball look at the danger points in the box try to get in front of the marker and meet the ball directing it in to an unguarded area of the net.

Timing plays a vital role in making your run into the box to score a goal.

4)      Situational play

We have all witnessed shooting exercises where children are stood in a line in the central of goal, however to truly master the art of shooting we have to practice scoring goals in a number of different areas of the pitch; also switching the numbers of attackers and defenders as well as the feed you are receiving.

Practising this technique will allow you to attempt various types and techniques of shots including volleys, first time shots, and controlled efforts on goal. You practice this scenario with your friends and teammates to help develop real game understanding through activities such as 2v2's and attackers vs defenders (discussed above) to improve movement and practice creating space around the ball as well as the different types of shootin.


    5)   The Type of finish

Finishing can be categorised in to 3 situational types, Adjust, basic and clever finishing easily remembered as the ABC of scoring goals:

  • Adjust finishing – is adapting to a ball this could be a high cross as pictured below or sliding in a low cross.
  • Basic Finishing – is a standard finish such as finesse or power like discussed earlier using correct technique and ball manipulation in a familiar striking position.
  • Clever Finishing – this is a trick that deceives the surrounding players or goalkeeper such as chipping the goalkeeper or a great example is Vardy’s goal against Germany (pictured as the 'clever' goal)

It is important that we understand the 3 categories and in turn can make quick decision in any situation in the pursuit of the best possible outcome.

With more knowledge and understanding of the skill of shooting it is now time to go and put it into practice, try new things and don’t be afraid to get it wrong, mistakes are made so we can put them right, also feel free to speak to our coaches on a Saturday morning for more information.


If you would like more information or support from Techne Global Sports and our coaching philosophy working with children in football visit: www.techneglobal.com/about



This article was written by Callum Saxby, BSc | Head Coach at Techne Global Sports

Callum has over 5 years of sport coaching experience with children at all levels having worked within primary and secondary schools, sports clubs and most recently coaching football in China as part of Techne Global Sports International Coaching Partnership Programme.