Trust your instincts
“When you hit a volley or leap for a header you don’t have time to look at the opposition goalkeeper; you just focus on hitting the target. When you have a lot of time in front of goal you start changing your mind and that’s where everything can go totally wrong. Have an idea of where you want to put the ball, stick to it, and when you receive the ball your mind will send a signal to the rest of your body, helping you to shape into the perfect position to put the ball where you want and score.”
Outsmart the keeper
“Goalkeepers hate it when you chip the ball over them. When they come rushing out they have to dive so it’s a good way to beat them. Also, every time a goalkeeper comes off their line they try to make themselves very big by using their arms and legs. This gives you the opportunity to just hit the ball between their legs. The battle with the goalkeeper is a game, remember. You are both there trying to force each other into making a mistake. And it’s the smartest one who always wins.”
More after the break
Focus on the ball
“Of course your first touch is important when you are put through on goal, but when it comes to applying the finish just look at the ball. You don’t need to look at the target because as a striker you should know where the goal is. Keep your eye on the ball until the last moment, right up until you see it leaving your foot. This is especially key when you have a chance in the last minute of a match. Football is more than a 90-minute game and you have to keep your focus. Treat the last minute like the first.”
Demba Ba's shooting drill
Add a curvy flourish to your finish thanks to this Thierry Henry-inspired shooting drill from the striker
“I like to practise this drill a lot, especially with Yohan Cabaye at the end of training. We start with the ball out on the left channel.
“We exchange passes and I take the ball just inside the penalty area and hit it like Thierry Henry. I love the inside foot finish from Henry – it’s brilliant.
“Receive the pass from your team-mate or coach, take one touch and then you just try to bend it.
“I strike the ball a lot better with the inside of my foot than when I hit it hard with my laces. I’ve always practised kicking it like this.
“Like any other finish, concentrate on the ball. Something that is also very important for finishing is preparing your shot – from your first step to get to the ball, to your last step before striking it.
“Keep your steps small until the last step before you take aim. At this point make sure you keep your standing foot close to the ball so you can hit it perfectly.
“It’s very difficult for the keeper when he sees the ball bending outside of the post and then coming back inside.
“The goalkeeper knows where you’re going, but when you’ve perfected the shot there’s nothing he can do to stop it.”
Demba wears the new Adidas Adizero f50, the fastest boot in football, in stores worldwide. Visit adidas.com/football for more
For more football tips see:
Radamel Falcao: How to be a penalty-box predator
Thierry Henry: Finishing at speed
Wayne Rooney's shooting drill
Olivier Giroud: How to create and conquer
Rooney: Big match preparation
Ibrahimovic: How to play as a targetman