Introducing the ‘Shooting Zone’

Coach: My “problematic” forwards problem is his toe punch. He runs straight at the ball, takes his leg straight back and straight through, like the old NFL placekickers. The ball then sails like a NFL placekick, high and over the goal. He’s done that probably 10 times this year. We’ve worked on keeping his toe down, try to finish with the leg towards his opposite hand, stepping next to the ball, but his habits are so ingrained that under pressure he reverts to his old form. He also doesn’t peek well claiming he has no time to peek because defenders leave him no time. It’s ironic he says that because he is maybe the quickest and fastest guy in the league and has more time to shoot than anyone in the league.

I’m working on that mindset as well, but it takes time. Two other guys fall into the toe punch category as well. My “timid” guy actually has, in general, great form, absolutely perfect in practice. Peeks well, good instep drive with both feet. His problem is over-kicking in a game. He tries to drive it a 100 miles an hour when 10 would score a goal. Two weeks ago he did like practice, took his time, right in the corner, but this week reverted to his old form and blasted two that were absolute gimmes and missed them both.

The other misses fall into the category you state below. The guys get nervous, sometimes overpass because they’re afraid to shoot, are sometimes afraid they will miss and finally take a weak shot. Some still fall into our favorite, the “let’s shoot at the goalie” class.

My assistant also suggested forcing them to take shots within a certain range because of our reluctance to take shots even from point blank<range. We’ll try your suggestion and see if it improves. This week we play the 800 lb gorilla of our league, and the other coaches are wondering if our dribblers can stay competitive with the gorilla. We’ll try our best, as we do every week.

Karl:  Love to read your updates -hope you don’t mind that they end up on this web page.  Also, very happy to read that even referees are noticing your teams improvement.  And ‘terrific’ to know that the 1v1 is a small key to your teams success!

To take care of their weakness in scoring – Mark out a ‘Shooting Zone’ with cones.

  • Make ‘the zone’ the distance from where all the boys are able to reach the goal with their shot.
  • Introduce and Enforce a ‘1-Touch Rule’ that must take place inside ‘the zone’
  •        Whenever any ball goes inside of this marked-out area (player closest to the ball) must 1-touch toward goal.
  • Failure to 1-touch the ball results in the opponent (gk) receiving a point!
  • Loudly compliment every 1-touch regardless of the outcome -or- give the player a point for the attempt.
  • Loudly fault the player not making an attempt to 1-touch -or- give a point to the opponent.

In time a ‘new’ habit of shooting on goal will be created and some of their attempts may even end-up in the net -Priceless.  And don’t forget to use the Push, Peek and Place buzz-words 🙂

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