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I never saw scoring a goal by shooting...out !!!!!

The title seems a “play” on words’s not !!!

I was checking some statistics of the Premiere League and I was shocked to read that a top Club (there is no need to name it !!!), not only didn’t score a goal for 2 games, which of course could happen in a very competitive context, but didn’t even have a shot on target for two games !!!!

This fact, is really too much to accept at a professional level.

-Occasionally missing a goal could happen, it’s O.K., you‘ll score the next one.

-Shooting “occasionally” at the keeper could happen, you’ll score the next one.

-The ball hits the post ? You can say.......bad luck, I’ll score the next one.

-The ball had a deflection just at the last moment ? Again you can say...............bad luck. I’ll score the next one.

But, not having a shot on target for two games while having shot many times, as a coach, I can say that probably it’s connected to a lack of shooting technique !!!!

I want to give you an example from another sport: Basketball.

In soccer/football, a goal sometimes could mean the difference between winning or losing. But in basketball, the 2 teams score dozens and dozens of baskets with scores often above 100 points so, it seems that missing 1 basket is not so bad as missing a sure goal in soccer/football.

This is true only........................ apparently. It’s O.K. to miss a basket if the score is 90 to 56, or 120 to 85, but if the score is 90 to 89 at 10 seconds to the end, to miss a basket could be catastrophic !!!! You could also lose the Championship by doing that !!!

So, in the economy of the games, to score or miss acrobatic basketballs is very spectacular but, during the games, there is another situation in which to score would be more easy, almost mandatory.

Those situations are........ free-throws !!!

At a super professional NBA level, to shot a free throw (without any opposition), not far away from the basket and without jumping, is suppose to be easy to put the ball in the basket. 15 or 20 free throws could represent 15 or 20 points so, by missing some of them in a game that is 89-88 a few seconds to the end, it means that a team lost a game not for the last basket that could be missed under the great tension of the last few seconds. The game could be lost because the team missed 5 or 6 free throws during the game, even in the first quarter !!!! In the end, it is those 5 or 6 points lost that makes the team lose the game by 1 point, not the last basket missed !!!

Considering this, I remember that a few years ago, the Sacramento Kings decided to have all their basketball players greatly improve their percentage of successful free throws so, they did the most simple thing: they haired a specialized coach for specifically going back to the fundamentals of the shooting technique of a free throw !!!!

All the players went back to learning what they should have learned when they were kids which is.........


But doing that properly, under supervision and following instructions !!!! Not just shooting over and over at the basket.........whatever !!!

After just 1 month of this specific training on fundamentals, in the following few games the Kings scored 50 free throws..........CONSECUTIVELY, before missing the first one !!!!

The percentage of games won went up enormously !!!

Going back to soccer/football, in my opinion, after having seen 10/12 games every week for many years (Champions league - Premier League - La Liga - Serie A etc. etc.), there are too many goals that are missed because the players, even the top ones, often don’t apply the correct shooting technique.

-often, the foot that holds the body is not put in the correct spot, which is to the side and very close to the ball, a little in front of it. By not doing this and trying to compensate this wrong positioning, the body will go out of balance, the player will lose coordination, and that’s why, often, the shot goes out !!!!

-often, that foot, doesn’t point to the target but, instead, already points out of it. So, being that the swing of the leg that shots is always parallel of the foot on the ground, of course, by pointing out of the frame, the ball will be shot out !!!

-often, other times, that foot point straight at the keeper so, of course the ball will go straight at the keeper. I always hear the commentator say:” what a great save !!!!” It wasn’t a great save. The ball was wrongly shot straight at him so, spontaneously reacting as any human being will do in that situation, he was just protecting himself from not being hit by the ball, straight in the face !!!!!

-often, the shooters don’t develop their maximum speed in the last few steps before the shot so..........there is not enough power !!! Also, they don’t bend the leg hard backward, like when we stretch so, even in this case, while relieving the leg, the snapping of the knee will not be powerful enough !!!!

-often, because they didn’t look at the ball at the moment of the impact with the foot, they miss the center of the ball so, the ball will get an unwanted spin and swirl sadly away from the goal !!! What an embarrassing miss !!!!

-often, the shooter has the body totally leaning backward and not above the ball, while looking at the ball and seeing it in front of the knee of the shooting leg that, of course, should be ABOVE the ball. Result: 3 great points in American Football (!!!!) 5 yards above the cross bar but in traditional Football........ball on the roof of the stadium !!!!!!

-often, the ankle of the shooting leg is not locked backward so, by hitting the ball with the ankle at 50/60 degrees (instead of perfectly perpendicular to the ground at 90 degrees !!!!) one more time, ball.........on the upper stands !!!!!

I can continue forever by pointing out other basic mistakes but I think that I made my point.

And it makes me very sad to listen to game commentators, that often are ex-professional players, when the above happens say that the shot was........”ambitious”. It wasn’t “ambitious”. It was DEEPLY WRONG !!!! But because they did that for all of their careers, they will never say that the shooting technique was deeply wrong. The shot was..............”ambitious” !!!!

So, even at a professional level, players don’t practice enough in basic fundamental aspects. Of course, I’ve seen them shoot over an over during practices, but I don’t see them work more specifically in what should be done in order to shoot properly.

This activity, is much more specific and takes specialized coaches that work specifically on these aspects, by going through fixed “frozen” positions that we have to assume while going to execute the motion of a perfect shot.

In conclusion, as the NBA’s Kings basketball players that enormously improved their “fundamental basic free throw shooting technique” I think that soccer/football players, at any age, should dedicate much more time in developing the correct shooting technique, which is not keep shooting for hours by doing over and over the wrong things !!!

This will only make bad habits become............PERMANENT!!!!!!! And to correct that, will take much more time.

And, if these bad habits could be “excusable” at 10 years old, they should be UNACCEPTABLE from professional players who put in their pockets more than 200 thousand $$$$$$$$ a week and miss the frame from 18 yards away ( or much less !!!!) while not having an opponent that pressures them !!!

Posted on 02 Mar 2012 by coachgianni
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