EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Shoot first time

Shooting first time is an important development for the attacking prowess of your team – all players should be able to hit a shot without taking a touch.

Lacazette scores for Arsenal

Alexandre Lacazette makes it count first time

If you want your team to score more goals, it’s essential that your players keep hold of the ball so they have as many opportunities as possible to get it to your strikers.

When your players get it up front and your strikers prepare to receive the ball, a quality first-touch is an essential weapon in your team’s attacking armoury.

So, it’s time to sharpen the finishing abilities of your strikers – Arsenal marksman Alexandre Lacazette has to practice his finishing in the final third. Recently his manager, Arsene Wenger, said he thought the striker was getting too overexcited when he was trying to finish chances, so the player was instructed to calm down when he received the ball in a scoring position.

Split second to take a shot

A player like Lacazette will take just a split second to see a chance and hit the shot first time with control and accuracy. When Manchester City were seconds away from losing the title to their city neighbours on the last day of the 2011-12 season, it was a first touch goal from Sergio Aguero in the fifth minute of injury time – he saw a chance and hit an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net. It looks simple but that kind of simplicity takes practice.

Lacazette has a fantastic ability to score with his first touch. He is surrounded by players who hold the ball up well and bring team-mates into play – players like Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud who have great first-time shots too, pouncing on any passes into their feet. But it’s not a skill that happens by chance.

These are the types of players who can inspire your own young strikers to greater heights and you, as a coach, can take advantage of this admiration, citing the hard work and dedication that it takes to become a marksman like Lacazette or Sanchez. Tell your players that focused practice is the only way to make them the best goalscorer in their league – you’ll find that it’s a good way to get them putting lots of effort into hitting the net during your training sessions.

One more touch

Often young strikers decide to take just one more touch, and then just one more, in an attempt to get closer to the goal and to make hitting the target easier. But this allows time for defenders to get back and make a tackle, or to narrow the angle of the shot, making it difficult for the forward to score. It can be a big cause of frustration for the coach, so if this sounds familiar, use the activities on the following pages and encourage your strikers to shoot at just the right moment.

Seeing the chance and hitting the shot is not something players do automatically – they need to practice so they recognise during a game when that situation has occurred and they can react accordingly. If you can get your strikers to react like Alexandre Lacazette, you will see your ‘goals scored’ tally rising quickly.

TOP TIPS FOR SHOOTING WITH EVERY CHANCE

If you want your team to score more goals, your strikers need to take every chance they get…

    > Strikers need to make runs into the penalty area to support midfield passes.
    > They should hit shots hard and low with good accuracy for maximum chances to score.
    > If a cross comes in, forwards should connect with it first time, keeping their head over the ball and their shot down.
    > It’s important for strikers to relax when the chance comes so they don’t mishit shots.
    > They should know where they are in relation to the goal and their support players at all times.
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