Soccer is a sport that relies primarily on one’s skill level, ability and experience. Although fitness plays an important part in what happens on the field, at the end of the day, without the necessary guile and skill, one cannot excel in this game.
One of the most crucial factors that can influence the game is a player’s first touch, which can be honed through rigorous practise and determination.
Everyone has their own comfortable way of the controlling the ball, but generally high, lofted balls that are above the waist are usually cushioned by the chest, while below that the ball falls under the domain of the leg.
First, we start with the leg—and the best way to improve control is through either passing with a friend or shooting to a wall if you’re alone.
Start with facing your friend, and keep a large amount of distance between each other depending on the level of your abilities. Pass the ball to your friend at different angles and heights; your friend should control it and return in the same manner.
However, if you’re alone and need to train, stand a few steps from a wall and constantly hit the ball at different angles and speeds so that the return pass is always difficult to control and preempt.
Scoring goals and the art of finishing are very important concepts in recreational soccer, where some players may not be naturally talented enough to get goals by themselves. Thus it is important for the coach to take these factors into account when arranging practice sessions.
A couple of drills can be used to enhance shooting power and accuracy, with their design varying according to the positions.
First is the running shoot. Once a player gets into a decent goal-scoring position on the field, the best course of action is to pull the trigger, although the desired result doesn’t come into fruition that often.
In order to perfect this scenario, take the ball to the halfway line and start running towards the goal. After reaching 25 or 30 yards, go for the top corner or any other place from the posts you find fancy, but always remember to follow through the shot and strike it with the ‘sweet spot,’ along with keeping your non-kicking foot in the direction of your target.
Hit the ball in the middle so that it doesn’t balloon over the bar or lack enough pace to beat the goalkeeper. While some players find this type of shooting easy, they struggle in set-pieces or static situations in which generating power can be a problem.
Most top stars go for the long range curler or a pinpoint shot into the top corner when given time and space, and the same can be said for dead ball situations or when the ball has stopped in the field of play.
Hitting the ball with the laces often misses the target in this scenario. Hence using the side foot is a popular tactic. Players tend to keep their aim at a pre-determined spot on the goal, where the keeper is generally not focusing.
They then literally pass the ball into the back of the net.
While these drills are difficult to perfect, one can greatly enhance his or her skill level by practicing them on a regular basis, with the result being clear on the pitch.
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