Q: We have a great team; we pass well, we dribble, we attack the ball, but we just can’t seem to score as well. We played a game and we had at least 10 or more shots on goal (not kidding) but were only able to get in 2. Can you give me some suggestions?
Koach Karl: You can very quickly improve your players scoring by using the successful “Self-Talk” approach that I introduced to the US soccer community a few years ago.
- Begin by having your players memorize the following three buzzwords: PUSH – PEEK – PLACE.
- Have them close their eyes and see themselves in action (visualizing) doing the following:
PUSH-ing the ball slightly in front of themselves.
PEEK-ing to see the net in back of the goal – or the space beside/over the goalkeeper.
-Stress on having them avoid seeing the keeper before refocusing on the ball.
PLACE-ing the ball (in their mind) over the goal line and under the cross bar for a score!
-They must ‘See’ the ball go into the space and into the net and making the GK a non-factor.
Repeat this ‘visualizing’ as often as possible at every future practice. This method is currently used by many international athletes who realize that the body can better achieve what the mind has rehearsed. They must see themselves ‘scoring’ on every single attempt. You may want to have them say the buzz words out loud while their eyes are closed.
- Find a wall and outline a goal on it. Then, have them start practicing by:
… PUSHING the ball slightly in front of themselves
…PEEKING to see the space where they will PLACE the ball.
…Then PLACE the ball at the exact spot that they decided to ‘hit.’
Be sure to have them say the words out loud. This will help them tell their body parts ‘what to do.’
- Have them repeat this sequence when shooting at the goal with a goalkeeper. Begin with the GK in a stationary position in the middle or the extreme right or left side of the goal. Once shooter is consistently successful vs. a stationary keeper then ask the keeper to slowly move to either right or left of center. Finally, once the shooters get more confident in PLACING the ball then ask the keeper to make attempts at saving the ball.
- Eventually, have them ‘Think the Buzz-words’ rather than saying them out loud. Other team players/coaches may laugh at what you are doing at the beginning. But, I promise they will stop laughing once your players start PLACING the ball in the back of the net during the league games.