When to Shoot? When to Pass?

Big time shot! - (Photo: Flickr.com)

Soccer is such a wonderful sport because fans absolutely love watching the ball sail passed a goalie and into the soft cushion of a net.  Players live for that moment and as such they will have a tendency to take many shots at goal in the hopes of claiming a Steven Gerrard style thunderbolt to the top corner.  But once a player develops a decent strike of the ball, there is a tendency to want to take every long-range effort possible.  A great challenge in developing a soccer player is in teaching them when to take that vicious shot and when to pass off and seek better options.

Nine times out of ten, even the best-intentioned strikes go sailing high and wide of the target.  Coaches and fans are often frustrated late in a game when shots like these seem like wasted opportunities and only add to the pains of defeat.

So when should players be advised to go for it and when should they seek a better option?  It totally depends upon what other opportunities present themselves.

Therefore, persuade your players to look up when they receive the ball.  There may be a team mate making a brilliant run and would be able to shoot from the PK spot versus their own bold 20 yard effort. Players are much more likely to score from close range.

Another thing to take into account is the type of situation that usually results in long range goal scoring.  Often times they come when the ball is rolling to a player which gives the shot greater power.  It is much harder to score a ball when players are dribbling so perhaps suggest refraining from those shots unless the ball is sitting just right for a big shot.

Also, try to wait for balls that come out to the edge of the box after the scramble of a corner kick. Goalies are often confused and out of position when trying to bat away a loose ball, so taking a distance striker on that kind of opportunity is a great way to catch the goalie flatfooted.

Long shots can be inspiring, but must be met with reason.  This is not to say they should never be tried, but they should not be your team’s go to attack.  Although few teams have the skill sets to pass the ball around like Barcelona and Arsenal at the edge of the box, try to convince your players to look up and find the best option, because perhaps there is a final pass that will lead to a fantastic team goal for your team.

Published by

Nicholas Spiller

Nicholas Spiller resides in LA where he dreams of musical super-stardom on his bass guitar. He also writes for Sportspiller.com and is an avid Arsenal fan!

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