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In short. Put the ball in the net!

If you had to define in a few words what basketball is, you could say: "Put the ball in the basket."
And baseball? "Hit the ball out of the field."
Football? "Get the ball to the end of the field."
Golf? "Hit the ball into the hole."

So, in all of these sports, we dedicate tons of time in practicing in doing that.
How much time do we dedicate to putting the ball in the goal in a 2 hour soccer practice? Ten minutes? Maybe less.

This aspect is very curious.
We dedicate hours to footwork, passing, trapping, juggling???, 1v1, 2v2, etc., etc., but almost nothing to shooting. So, when thanks to all of the above, we arrive in the right position to finalize the team effort, 49% of the time we shoot out, 49% of the time we shoot to the keeper and 2% we shamefully miss the ball because it's the first time in weeks we've had that opportunity.

As a provocation, I'm stating that a minimum of 50% of the practice time should be dedicated to shooting and SCORING!
3v3? Good. But after a few passes, shoot on goal.
Juggling? Good. But after a series of 10, shoot on goal.
Scoring a goal is the essence of soccer. If you'll pardon the joke, the goal of soccer is to score goals.

As I said, continuing the provocation, we should practices hours on shooting. When the players reach an acceptable level of scoring, I would focus on the Ďassistí; the magic last pass that puts a forward in the condition of scoring!

After that, Iíd work on passing to create a situation that permits a player to give an Ďassistí, that consequently leads to scoring. I hope what Iím trying to explain is clear. Iím working backwards and in doing that, Iíll get to where the action begins.

Usually there are 3 situations:

-When the opponent makes a wrong pass
-We win the ball back in pressing
-We start from our keeper

There are no other beginnings so, I strongly suggest working BACKWARD otherwise, when we finally get in front of the opponentís keeper, we donít know how to score because weíve NEVER done it in practice!

I donít know if youíve ever noticed that, when a big area is restored, the first thing taken care of is the landscaping. Trees are planted, irrigation for big grassy areas are put in place, the electrical implants for the outside lighting are installed and in the mean time the big complex is beginning to take shape. When the construction is finished the whole area is ready to come alive as if it were always there.
If you do the opposite, when youíre finished with the construction, youíve just built in the middle of nowhere and it takes a year to make the area functional and welcoming, with the result of loosing a year of business.

So, going back to soccer, take care of the finalization of the job that the whole team has done, otherwise you still give the ball to the opponent keeper or worse.

Coach Gianni
Posted on 02 Dec 2005 by coachgianni
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