Finishing with power and accuracy is the potent formula which characterises football’s most lethal goalscorers. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Samuel Eto’o are fantastic proponents of the low driven shot – a clean hard strike towards the bottom corners of the goal.
This drive is the bane of goalkeepers; it frequently comes through a lot of traffic, it is hard to get down to and the pace makes it tricky to gather in so, even if the shot doesn’t go directly in, alert strikers can often pick up a rebound and score.
Tactical Point – When & Where
Like all finishing techniques, the low driven shot becomes more and more likely to succeed as your team move closer and closer to their opponent’s goal.
However, because of the pace on the shot it can still be effective from outside the penalty area, where a side-footed finish would be unlikely to beat the goalkeeper. This means that every member of your team should be confident with this technique – great midfielders such as Steven Gerrard and Wesley Sneijder might be more famous examples of long-distance finishers, but there are plenty of great goals scored by wingers, full-backs and even centre-halfs every season using this technique.
Of course, the principle of “Likelihood of Success” applies. Because a shot from closer to the goal is far more likely to go in, a pass to a further advanced teammate is usually a better option (if they are unmarked or moving into space).
We should encourage our players to identify shooting opportunities and to shoot as often as they can, it’s a cliche but truly if you don’t buy a ticket then you can’t win the lottery.
- Approach ball at a very slight angle. If ball is at your feet, or moving away from you, this means taking it to the side away from your body.
- If the ball is moving towards you, you will have to either let it roll all the way across your body or hit the ball early depending on your favoured foot.
- Plant your non-kicking foot alongside the ball. Your toes, knee and hips should face your target to bring your body into the correct alignment for accuracy.
- Bring your kicking leg through a large backswing to generate power.
- Accelerate your kicking foot through the ball. Point toes down and kick with the ridge which runs on top of your foot between your ankle and big toe.
- Look down at the point of contact on the ball and strike through the horizontal and vertical midlines (this is the ball’s ‘sweet spot’). This keeps the ball down and generates maximum power.
- Keep your head steady and follow through with the kicking leg, bringing it through the full front swing. The momentum might bring you up off the ground.
Also, it is important to avoid leaning backwards throughout the movement. Leaning back will mean the kicking leg doesn’t meet the ball at the bottom of the swing and so power will be lost and the kicking action will make the ball lift.