Strikers - Placement over Power. It's all in the head, not the foot.

Coaching Strikers over the past 18 months there is a common theme to my coaching points, that I want to address here and that is Placement over Power.

It seems that alot of players these days want to hit the ball as hard as they can at goal, no matter of the finishing positions, but what we see in Australia and I'm sure the rest of the world, is balls knocking Koala's out of trees, as it sails over the bar.

It was interesting the other night with my new group of students. We were practising 1st time finishing and educating them in using the pace of the pass and the players momentum to guide the ball into the net. It worked really well and majority of shots where starting to hit the target, but right at the end we introduced the competition, Goalkeepers v Strikers and we saw a change. Their was pressure, and it became even more game like with the end result, but what happened was all psychological, they started to hit the ball with power again, it started to miss the target and they scrambled a draw with the goalkeepers, in a practice they should win easily, from the distance of 6-12 yards. So why was this?

1. Pressure

As I mentioned it is all in a players head, pressure, nothing has changed in terms of the practice we had run apart from adding the competition, but in the players head they had to do something different now to score, they where tense and when you are tense, technique goes out the window.

I play golf and I know when I tense up in a shot and try to hit the ball hard after missing a putt, the ball does not go where it is intended and normally hooks.

2. Slow your brain down

Slowing your brain down. Another example comes from motor racing. Back in my PT days, I spoke with Indy Car Champion Jimmy Vasser and will never forget what he told me, that driving at over 300 kmh feels to him like driving at 40 kmh, as his brain slows down, allowing him to not focus on the speed, but his reactions. Same with footballers. The top players make it look easy sometimes finishing, as they do not panic in front of goal, they are calm, even though the decision is split second sometimes and result could have huge importance

3. Practice

To be able to slow your brain down and not panic, you must have been in that situation or similar before with a positive result. To be confident and get a shot on target and you need to be consistently hitting the back of the net in training. If you do not regularly train shooting, when it comes to a game you are unprepared, not sharp, you will panic, over try and miss.

4. Realistic Practice

Now to me hitting the back of the net needs to be in game realistic situations. You need to be realistic in your practice and for me I see alot of Pro Clubs doing 'old fashioned' finishing drills that are

  • Hitting a stationary ball from the edge of the box central.

  • Self rolling a ball from the same area and striking at goal

  • Not moving at match pace towards the ball, whatever position you are in

Its great they are practising finishing but at the end of the day practices at Pro level should be alot better in my opinion.

These three tips should hopefully help young and even experienced strikers and make you realise that their is alot more to being a top striker, than striking the ball at goal as hard as you can at goal. Place it on target and I guarantee you will score more goals.

If you want to improve your finishing then you need Specialised Coaching in Melbourne or if you are in the rest of the world, you can purchase one of our e-books for specific final third practice sessions and lots of tips and questions that will make you a top striker.

About Nine One Football

Nine One Football are the Expert's’ when it comes to Striker & Goalkeeper Soccer Training. We have developed the revolutionary Nine One Football Methodology which is both conducted by specialist qualified coaches and has Elite Academies, Group & Private Training and now via Coaching E-books to get Results in the Final Third. Finally, a small sided game 3v3+GK has been created which has more touches, more goals, more saves. Head Coach of Nine One Football is Paul Harvey who is FFA Level 1 Qualified Coach who specialises in coaching Goalkeepers and Strikers.

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