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Best soccer shooting drills for power, accuracy and agility

By Sportlane Team, 30 July 2020

While it is of no doubt that a player may significantly improve his/her football skills being a part of a soccer camp or academy , not everyone has an opportunity to attend it. That is why athletes spend enormous amount of time training alone, with parents, peers or coaches. Our team has prepared and presents today a comprehensive guide on how to improve shooting in football. One can use the exercises presented below for individual or team football training. For some of those soccer drills you may find it necessary to get additional equipment (e.g. cones). Overall, this guide will teach you how to kick a soccer ball properly from different perspectives (technical, power, agility).

I. The importance of shooting in football

Leicester City are a rising English Premier League club.  In 31 games before the 2019-2020 season was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic they scored 56 goals from 14 different players.  Striker Jamie Vardy scored 19 of them and is the highest scorer in the Premier League.  But James Maddison (6), Youri Tielemans (5) and Wilfred Ndidi (3) contributed from the midfield. The full backs, Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira contributed 5 between them and even central defenders Johnny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu have scored one each.  The point is that in the modern game teams expect goals from every player except the goalkeeper.  Shooting skills drills should, therefore, be part of every player’s training routine. 

But shooting in soccer is not easy and scoring is even less easy.  Leicester City’s 56 goals came from 405 shots.  Clubs look at players conversion rates, chances or shots as a percentage of goals scored.  Jamie Vardy is not Leicester’s top shooter.  In fact, his 19 goals have come from 59 shots but James Maddison’s 62 shots have yielded only 6 goals [Footnote 1]  If Maddison scored more often, he would probably be a £100 million pound player and the best attacking midfielder in the world.  As it is, he struggles to get in the England team. The fact is, if you want to succeed in professional football shooting skills are one of the most important things to master.  But how?  How, indeed if you do not have eleven teammates, a full-size pitch or a professional coach to practice with?  This blog will show you football shooting drills you can do on your own or with a few teammates.  By you we mean anybody, children, adults, male or female, anybody who loves football can do these soccer shooting drills and learn to score like a Premiership star.  So, let’s get started.

What skills do I need to practice for shooting in football?

To get in position to shoot you have to beat one or more defenders.  So, the first set of soccer shooting drills we present will focus on that.  Football is a team sport, so beating the defence may involve combination passing as well as individual skill. 

Nobody scores with every shot.  But once you are in a position to shoot winning the game is all about hitting the target and testing the opposing goalkeeper as often as possible.  That means that football target practice is essential.  But the target is always guarded by defenders and a goalkeeper.  Beating the goalkeeper is never easy. But the best strikers give themselves many options.  They can hit the target and test the keeper from short and long ranges, from a variety of angles with both feet and with the ball on the ground or in the air.   

This blog will therefore present football shooting drills to:

1. Use individual skills to beat defenders from a variety of ranges and angles

2. Use combination passing moves to open up a defence

3. Beat the goalkeeper by improving power and accuracy, bending, volleying    

and chipping the ball

4. Alert players to mistakes they should avoid when shooting a soccer ball.

 

II. Individual soccer shooting drills

 

1) Fundamental shooting drills for individual soccer training

When shooting in football strikers often receive the ball with their backs to goal.  This drill will help you improve your ability to turn and shoot from in front of the goal. This is an individual drill.  It can be practised indoors or outdoors on grass or Astro turf.  

Equipment required

1 x goal posts

1 + balls

1 x cone e.g. a traffic cone

How to do the exercise:

Stage 1.    Place the cone centrally on the edge of the D.  Place the ball in front of the cone on the side away from the goal.  The player stands parallel to the ball with his/her back to goal.  Turn as nimbly as possible, flick the ball with your left foot moving it into position and then shoots with the right instep.  Practice gradually reducing the radius of the turn.  Make sure you keep your body over the ball to keep the shot down and under the bar. 

Stage 2.   After a few repetitions reverse the direction of turn and practise positioning the ball with the right foot and shooting with the left instep.  Players should practice placing their shot at the near post and the far post.

Stage 3.   Instead of receiving the ball in a static position move the ball further from the goal and dribble at speed towards the cone.  Dummy to the left or right of the cone, drop the opposite shoulder and turn past the cone before shooting.  This is power shooting with the instep.

Stage 4.    Return the ball to in front of the cone.  With your back to the goal flick the ball into the air with one foot, turn and shoot on the volley with the other foot.  Try to vary the height from which the ball is received.  Practice turning left and right and shooting with both feet.

Possible variations

Do each stage in sets of ten repetitions.  Try to improve the percentage of goals scored.  If you are missing a lot ask a friend to video the drill.  Slow down the video and study your body position when shooting.  Refer to body position drills e.g.  #4  below.

Skills developed

Turning a defender, shooting with both feet, volleying

2) Fast feet, sharp shooting a soccer ball

 

In match situations speed of footwork, close control and agility can be the difference between getting your shot off or seeing the ball cleared by the defence. This drill helps you practice fast foot movement, sharp shooting, dribbling and finishing. This is an individual shooting drills in soccer. It can be practised indoors or outdoors on grass or Astro turf.  

Equipment required

1 x goal

1+ balls

8 x cones color A

4 x cones color B

Stop watch app (optional)

How to do this football exercise: 

Stage 1. Place the color A cones in a straight lane approaching the goal. Place the color B cones in a square across the front edge of the penalty box. Dribble the ball between the color A cones and around the color B cones before shooting. Try to use both feet alternately.  Try to select and hit different parts of the goal.

Stage 2. Gradually move the color A cones closer together to increase the footspeed and agility required to keep control of the ball.

Stage 3. Practice dribbling around the outside as well as inside of the color B cones. Practice retaining balance in order to place your shot accurately at the end of the dribble.

Stage 4. Repeat with the color A cones in a zigzag pattern and the color B codes in a diamond pattern.

Possible variations

1.    Time how long it takes you to do each repetition of this drill from start to     making the shot.  Try to increase your speed.

2.     Paint lines 1 metre either side of the line of color A cones.  Try to keep     the ball inside those lines while dribbling to improve close control.

Skills developed

Dribbling before shooting, foot speed, agility, balance, sharp shooting

3) Shooting a bouncing ball in football

When shooting in soccer, international stars know that volleying gives the defender no time to close you down or challenge.  This video shows you how to practice the skills. It is a simple football target practice drill for one or more outfield players plus a goalkeeper.  It can be practised indoors or outdoors on grass or Astro turf.  

Equipment Required

1 x goal

1x ball

How to practice this football exercise:

Stage 1. Start with the ball on the bye line to one side of the goal.  Player 1 pulls the ball back to the D, chases it, brings it under control, flicks it into the air, turns and volleys into the goal using no more     than 3 touches.

Stage 2. Repeat with each player in the squad until each player is shooting with sufficient power and accuracy to beat the goalkeeper.

Stage 3.    Conclude with a competition in which the first player to score 3 times using this technique is the winner.

Possible variations

Instead of cutting the ball back from the bye line, start this football practice with a cross from the touchline into the D then take three touches to control the ball, flick it into the air and volley home.

Skills developed

Ball control, turning, posture, volleying

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Contact us by any means if you need assistance!

4) How To Lock Your Ankle for shooting in football

When shooting a soccer ball, the position of your ankle and foot is one of the keys to shooting with power and accuracy.  This drill will teach you how to lock your ankle correctly when shooting.  This is a simple drill which can be practiced indoor or outdoors on a grass pitch or Astro turf.  Players practice in pairs.  The drill can be done as a warm up before all kinds of other soccer shooting drills.

Equipment required

1 x five a side goal

1+ balls

Assorted colored cones/markers

How to practice this football exercise:

Stage 1.    Watch the video and model locking your ankle in the correct position with toes pointing downwards.  Ask a partner to try to push your toes upwards.  Practice until they cannot without giving you pain.

Stage 2.    Practice shooting into a five a side goal to improve accuracy from between marker cones.  Focus on the position of your ankle and foot.

Stage 3.    Repeat with the other foot.  Do this regularly with both feet until the correct foot position, with ankle locked, becomes second nature every time you are shooting in soccer.

Possible variations

Use this drill as a 10-minute warm up before all other football shooting drills.

Skills developed

Correct foot position, shooting technique, power, accuracy

5) Rebound shooting drill in football

Before shooting in football, strikers often receive the ball as a rebound from another player’s shot blocked by a defender or the goalkeeper or as a rebound from the woodwork.  Converting those rebounds into shots and goals is an important skill you can develop with football shooting drills like this one.  This is a competitive drill for two or more players.  It requires quite a lot of space, so is best practiced outdoors. 

Equipment required

1 x fixed goal

1 x goal on wheels or a rebounder

1+ balls

How to do this soccer exercise:

Stage 1.  Place the portable goal/rebounder in the left front corner of the penalty box at 45 degrees.  Player 1 strikes the ball against the metal base of that goal, collects the rebound and shoots first time with his/her right into the fixed goal. Player 1 performs 3 repetitions.

Stage 2.  Player 2 does the same.  Keep a count of goals scored by each player.

Stage 3.  Move the portable goal/rebounder to the right- hand side of the penalty box.  Repeat the exercise volleying with the left foot.

Stage 4. The player with the highest number of goals wins

Possible variations 

The players in the video treat football training drills as a bit of laugh and are not very successful.  It is good to have fun but there is a serious purpose as well. Analyse why most of their shots miss and try to improve your volleying technique.  See shooting soccer drills #3 above.

Skills developed

Anticipation, ball control, turning, shooting with power and accuracy, shooting with both feet.

III. Combination soccer shooting drills to open a defence

 

1) First touch and shooting training drills

Football is a team sport.  When shooting in football matches, the best strikers do not try to beat the opposition on their own.  They score as a result of passing moves with teammates and beating defenders to open up space to shoot.  This kind of team football practice helps you develop the skills of receiving a pass, dummying a defender and shooting. This is a small group drill.  It is best practised outdoors on grass or Astro turf with or without a coach present.

Equipment required

1 x goal

1+ balls

1 x dummy defender or large cone

2+ players (3rd player as goalkeeper optional)

Description  

Stage 1. Place the dummy defender or cone on the penalty spot. Player 1 squares the ball from the right side of the penalty to player 2 who is facing the dummy defender.  Player 2 controls the ball with one  touch of his left foot making space beside the defender then turns and shoots with his right foot.  Soccer drills like this practice power shooting, so make sure you use your instep, lock your ankle and get your body weight over the ball to keep the shot down. If you need more practice with these skills see drill above.  Practice selecting and hitting different parts of the goal. Repeat  with players 3, 4 etc.

Stage 2. Repeat from the left side of the penalty area. Practice tight control with the first touch. Some players in the video let the ball run too far.

Stage 3. Player 1 squares the ball into the penalty area. Players 2 and 3 play a 1-2 to beat the defender before player 3 advance son the goalkeeper and shoots from close range.

Possible variations

Add a goalkeeper.  Practice placing your shoot to beat him/her as often as possible.

Skills developed

Ball control to turn a defender, passing combinations to beat a defender, shooting with both feet. It is one of the fundamental shooting drills in soccer.

2) Combination soccer drills for kids (Foundation age coaching)

Successful soccer teams learn to anticipate where each other will be in match situations so that they can play intricate patterns in the penalty box to create space against a packed defence. Small group soccer shooting drills like this one help you develop those skills.  This drill involves around 6 players.  It needs around a third of a full-size pitch so is best practised outdoors.  The drills are quite complex and a coach/organizer would be helpful would be helpful to get everybody in the right place for each drill and give feedback.

Equipment required

1 x full size pitch

1 x goal

1 x ball

1 x coach/organizer (optional)

How to practice this football exercise:

Stage 1.    Divide the group into teams of three.  Assign each group a colour, yellow, red and blue.  The yellow team starts. Study the video and understand where each player needs to be and how they pass the ball between themselves.  Practice until the team can score regularly without losing control of the ball or allowing it to go out of play.  Practice communicating while the drill is in progress by making eye contact, body language or shouting.

Stage 2.    Bring the blue and red groups into the drill.  Study the video and follow the progression activities.

Possible Variations

Count the number of touches of the ball require to execute each movement.  Try to keep this to a minimum.

Skills Developed

Combination play, anticipation of team mates positioning, close range shooting

Please, be reminded that you can always find fit-for-purpose soccer camps for kids on Sportlane depending on your skills level, budget and location preferences. They are great for improving the quality of the game fast as they usually take up to 2-3 weeks of intense football training with very qualified coaches. Such soccer camps are also used as a means to trial those players who wish to attend long-terms residential soccer academies. That is the coaches organize football trials during the camps and invite participants who passed the evaluation. 

IV. Football shooting drills to beat the goalkeeper

 

1) Power shooting in soccer with accuracy

Anybody can score unopposed on the training ground but shooting in football matches means beating a high-class goalkeeper and that requires specific skills.  One of them is power.  This drill develops techniques for shooting with more power without compromising accuracy. This is an individual drill. It can be practised indoors or outdoors on grass or Astro turf

Equipment required

1 x goal

1+ balls with logo on

iPhone fitted with speed radar app (optional)

How to practice this football exercise:

Stage 1.    Place the ball on the 18-yard line. Practice your run up to generate  power.  Take 5-6 wide strides with your body leaning slightly forward before striking the ball.

Stage 2.    Practice planting your foot parallel to the angle at which you want to strike the ball.

Stage 3.    Practice putting a slight bend in the knee above your plant foot to improve accuracy.

Stage 4.    Practice using your arms to improve balance when shooting.

Stage 5.    Practice identifying the correct place to hit the ball to achieve accuracy.

Stage 6.    Practice locking your ankle and striking the ball with the instep to maximize power.

Stage 7.    Practice generating power through backswing of the shooting leg.

Stage 8.    Practice improving accuracy by controlling follow through with the shooting foot.

Stage 9.    Practice coming off your planted foot to improve follow through.

Stage 10.  Practice putting it all together to produce a clean strike every time.

Possible variations

Technology is playing an increasing role in football training. In this drill you can add technology to measure changes in the speed of your shot resulting from changes in technique.  For example, Kickpower and Adidas-Snapshot-app both work like a traffic police speeding camera and measure the speed of your shot as it crosses a video screen.  This requires an iPhone and a friend /fellow player to operate it.

Skills developed

Shooting power, shooting accuracy, posture, muscle control

2) How to improve long power shots 

Goals scored from long range with screaming drives or spectacular curling shots usually win goal of the season competitions.   This drill teaches you the two basic techniques for shooting in soccer from long range; driving and curling the ball.  This begins as an individual drill but can be practised in match situations, hence it is best practised outdoors on grass. 

Equipment Required

1 x goal

1+ balls

1 x goalkeeper (optional)

How to do these soccer drills:

Stage 1. Study videos of long range “screamer” shots from real life games. Draw lessons.  Decision making matters. Choice of straight driven or curling shots depends on positions of the striker and goalkeeper. Practice looking up to check the position of the keeper before striking.

Stage 2.  Model the correct body and foot position to curl the shoot with power and accuracy. Pay attention to the planting foot, use of the instep, part of the ball to be hit, body of the ball, shooting foot follows through across the body to generate swerve.

Stage 3. Model the correct body and foot position for the low driven shot. Pay attention to angle of the planted foot, use of the instep, locking of the ankle.

Possible Variations

As in all soccer practice drills, it is a good idea to ask a friend/fellow player to video your body movements as you practice each type of shot.  Slow down and analyse the video yourself or ask a pro coach to review it.

Skills developed

Posture, muscle control, driven shots, curling shots. This exercise is one of those shooting drills in soccer which prepare the player to score the goal in rainy weather when the ball slips and it is easier to score from the distance. 

3) Football drills for shooting from the narrow angle 

In a one on one situation with the goalkeeper advancing and trying to close down the angle for a striker to shoot, chipping the goalkeeper becomes an important skill for improving your success rate when shooting in soccer. This drill helps you practice chipping from a variety of ranges.  It is an individual drill which can be practiced indoors or outdoors, on grass or on Astro turf.

Equipment required

1 x goal

1 x pitch with distance lines every 10 metres

1+ balls

cones

1 x goalkeeper real or dummy (optional)

How to practice this football exercise:

Stage 1. Place the cones in three parallel lines facing each post and the centre of the goal at intervals of 5 metres.  Start by dribbling the ball towards the nearest cone to the goal in the centre line and chipping into the net by lifting the ball over the goalkeeper.

Stage 2. Repeat from further out from goal being careful not to chip over the bar.

Stage 3. Repeat using the lines of markers in front of the left and right posts  to practice shooting with both feet.

Possible Variations

Add a goalkeeper who rushes towards the striker as he approaches the goal.  If no goalkeeper is available put obstacles of varying heights 2 or 3 metres from the goal line and practice chipping over them.

Skills developed

Dribbling, chipping, shooting with both feet, shooting from various angles

V. Review of common mistakes when shooting in football 

Every coach knows that players develop bad habits and that practice makes perfect.  This video reviews some of the most common mistakes strikers make and suggests some drills you can use to avoid them.  The drills are for individual players and are best practised indoors where there are walls for rebounding the ball. 

Equipment Required

1+ balls

1 x plain wall

Assorted colored cones/markers

How to execute these football drills:

Stage 1. Practice regularly with your weaker foot

Stage 2. Model locking your ankle every time you shoot.  Practice the position with toes pointing downwards.

Stage 3.  Practice leaning over the ball, not leaning back, as you shoot.  This involves practicing the timing of your run up to the ball so that you are not stretching for it and have time to bring your body forward over the ball.

Stage 4. Practice using the instep to strike the ball.  Your instep is underneath the laces of your football boots. Try getting a partner to take close range videos of you striking the ball with a smartphone and check you are striking the ball correctly.

Stage 5. Practice hitting the ball dead centre to avoid unwanted top spin or lift.

Stage 6. Practice controlling your back lift.  Avoid swinging wildly or trying too hard.  Practice by shooting at targets marked on a wall at 70% power and as hard as you can.  Check which produces the most consistent accuracy. Remember connection technique is more important than sheer power. 

Stage 7. Set yourself a regular practice schedule with carefully targeted football drills and specific performance goals. Don’t just practice aimlessly.

Possible variations

Use goal setting and planning tools to develop a plan to improve your skills.

Skills developed

Posture, body position, shooting technique, accuracy, training planning

VI. Conclusion

All soccer practice and coaching drills are as useful as the effort you put into them.  Have fun using the drills in this blog by all means, but take them seriously. Soccer training is hard work.  You need to do multiple repetitions and expect to work up a sweat. Don’t expect instant results the first time you try a drill.  Great strikers have innate talent but it takes hard work and persistence to turn that innate talent into actual performance week in week out.  

Use the drills repeatedly and set yourself goals to get better at each one.  If you are getting bored or it is getting too easy, try the variations suggested above or others of your own.  Remember there is no fixed manual of soccer coaching.  Draw on the advice of the experts shown here but also adapt and do whatever works for you.  With time and effort, you will start to take a higher percentage of the chances that come your way and become a better all- round striker.

Additionally, if you would like to progress more rapidly with your football career, you can find a variety of high-performance residential (long-term) football academies and short-term soccer camps from all over the world on Sportlane platform. 

Footnotes: 

[1] All statistics from https://www.premierleague.com/clubs/26/Leicester-City/stats