When a player is through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat, it can be nerve-racking because they are expected to score. The following soccer coaching tips will help your players deal with this pressure.
Help your players handle the 1v1 goal scoring expectation with two strategies:
- Encourage them to be calm.
- Equip them with the right techniques for the job.
It’s in the head
You can help a hesitant and indecisive player by teaching them the “Three Bs.”
- Be confident – Tell them the odds are in their favor – after all, they’ve got the whole goal to aim at and only one person in the way!
- Be relaxed – Inform them that staying calm will allow them to think clearly about which solution to use and help them execute it.
- Be positive – Instruct players to look at the keeper’s position, then make up their mind on what they’re going to do – and stick to it.
Attack at pace
Once a player is in the space behind the defence, they should move quickly towards the goal by playing the ball well out of the feet. This will:
- Give them a chance to get their head up to observe the keeper’s position.
- Make it hard for the advancing keeper to get to the ball if your player dribbles around them.
- Prevent defenders from catching up.
As they approach the goal, your player has two options: dribble around the goalkeeper or shoot past them.
- Commit the keeper.
- Keep the ball under control.
- Try a trick – like a stepover – to wrong-foot the goalkeeper.
- Play the ball outside the keeper’s reach and hit the target.
- Dribble too close to the keeper.
- Play the ball too wide – this can make the angle to goal too narrow.
- Knock the ball too far ahead – this can result in chasing after the ball to keep it in play.
If a player chooses to shoot, they should check there’s space – either side of the keeper will do – to ‘sidefoot pass’ the ball into the net for accuracy.
To increase the amount of goal to aim at, players can:
- Try altering the angle just prior to taking the shot.
- Feint to shoot – this can unbalance the keeper and create extra space to aim at.