Shooting is a vital skill but it might also be the soccer skill that is coached most poorly. This can not only create bad habits that are hard to break but it also predisposes players to an elevated risk of injury. Dave Alred is one of the worlds most preeminent kicking coaches. He has worked with many of the worlds top soccer and rugby teams. In doing so Dave has developed a systematic progression to teach ball striking. Dave’s method produces better and longer lasting improvements in ball striking than any other drills or practices that we have encountered. Shooting for power and accuracy is a skill that can improve anyone’s game.
Tim Lees is a leading biomechanics researcher and the author of one of the most authoritative reviews of the kicking technique of elite players.
Between them Alred and Lees debunk what they consider to be many shooting myths.
Myth 1: Players should lean over the ball to keep it low. In fact rather than bending forward over the ball professional players tend to have a slight backward lean of the torso of around 15% on average.
Myth 2: Strike the ball with your laces. As Dave points out the strike is with the large bone in the instep and not with the laces. Advice to point the toe straight down and hit with the laces will inevitably put the player in a poor body position. The research also supports Dave point that the correct approach is from 45 degrees. In research this was the angle that generated most power for an instep drive.
Myth 3: Players should be upright with the big toe of the shooting foot pointing straight down. In fact, there is a distinct torso lean away from the ball in elite players of around 15 degrees and this means that the foot and toe are pointed at an angle to the ground. Interestingly while there is a torso lean away from the ball in professional players, in research male collegiate players were almost upright and female players leaned the other way!
Myth 4: When striking the ball players should jump up and move both feet off the ground. In fact, Dave shows, the player should move forward and not up, and the kicking leg should make contact with the ground quite quickly.
These last few videos complete Dave’s kicking progression. Most of the earlier core stages can be performed by the players at home, reinforcing good habits.
Try it. It works!
Dr Dave Alred MBE is the author of: