This is the second in the July series of posts on shooting progressions. The exercises I'll discuss are normally part of a complete session but are shown here on their own to focus on them.
The exercises shown in the first post of of this series where mostly static so that the players would really focus on their technique. The 'Two Line' exercises that I discuss in this post add a much more dynamic and realistic element. This will challenge the players to apply the techniques to a moving ball with in a game situation.
If you're fortunate enough to have two goals that you can move this Two Line format allows you to do a ton of different types of shooting activities with the same setup.
The distance between the goals and the size of the goals will depend on the age group and ability level of the players. For this example the goals are 30 yards apart with a halfline in between.
In the first stage, the first player in each line dribbles to the halfline, pushes the ball out of their feet and shoots on goal. In this stage I'm looking to see if the players are still getting their foot next to the ball, striking with their laces and landing on their shooting foot. The first thing to break down is usually the position of their plant foot. When the ball is moving it's important that the players take a large step to get that foot along side of the ball before striking it. This long step also helps the players generate more power from their hip and back muscles.
- Last step in a large step
- Foot next to the ball
- Strike with your laces
- Land on your shooting foot
- Shoot toward the 'far pocket', the space inside the far post
Once the players become comfortable with the first stage, I ask them to dribble at one cone, push the ball past it and then shoot. Once they get their timing down then I ask them to use a move (scissors, Mathews, etc.) to beat the cone/defender before taking a shot.
You can change the angle of the player's run to resemble situations they will face in the game. This diagonal run is one of my favorites because it helps me teach the players to,'twist their foot' when shooting back across their body. When I was growing up our coaches told us to, 'turn our hip to face the target'. I remeber having trouble with this. When you tell the players to, 'twist their foot', that brings their hips around as they swing to strike the ball. I've found that even U8 players can understand how to twist their foot in order to shoot toward the far post.
- Add a defender to the cone to encourage the players to fake early enough to avoid being tackled
- Go in goal after you shoot to try and stop the shot of the next player
- Create two teams and have them see who can score the most goals in one, two or three rounds
- Have a player stand with their back to goal, receive the ball, turn with one touch and score
There are a hundred different ways to adjust this format to fit what you are trying to coach. Leave a comment with your favorite variation or coaching point.