Don’t let FIFA and YouTube fool you: scoring 30-yard screamers isn’t easy. Finding the top corner, beating the keeper first time, even finishing a one-on-one – those skills take practice. This page has everything you’ll need, from videos of training drills to star strikers’ pro tips. If you aren’t top scorer after reading this, there can be only reason: someone else has been reading it, too.
More after the break
Shoot with power
A fierce shot can be the difference between finding the net and finding the goalkeeper’s gloves – the more power on your strike, the less time they have to react. Learn to connect with the ball correctly and the power will come, especially if you add gym work to that technique training. Unleash your inner He-Man and snap the keeper’s wrists.
Shoot with accuracy
There’s no point having a shot like a cannon firing if you’re just going to decapitate corner flags. Nearly all goals come with a precision finish. “The key is to get your foot and head over the ball, and make the goalkeeper work,” says Jimmy Gilligan, head coach of the Nike Academy. He’s not wrong.
Score from every one-on-one
It’s a striker’s dream: you’re through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat. Then you miss. But not any more you won’t, provided you follow ex-Liverpool poacher Robbie Fowler’s advice. “To make it second nature you need to practise one-on-ones over and over again in training.” And having scored 162 Premier League goals, he should know.
Learn from the masters
If it’s pro tips you’re after, remember some of the best strikers ever have shared their goalscoring secrets with Performance. Whether it’s Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic on choosing the right moment to shoot, or Arsenal legend Thierry Henry on ‘freezing’ the goalkeeper one-on-one, you can hear shooting advice straight from the horse’s mouth.
Copy the stars’ favourite drills
Every sharp-shooter in professional football worked on the training ground to up his strike rate, repeating drills that challenge and improve their technique. If those practices are good enough for them, they’re good enough for anyone. So grab some cones, bibs and mates and get cracking – you’ll be hitting hat-tricks in no time.
Score from long range
Fact: scoring a goal from distance is one of the most satisfying feelings in football. Long-range net-bulgers aren’t flukes, though. “I always look forward to shooting drills, and this is one of my favourites,” says Ashley Young, who’s scored more than a few goals from outside the box. “It replicates a realistic game situation, and practice makes perfect.”
Be a fox in the box
Of course, most goals come from close range – so finding space in the area to get a shot away or convert a cross is a vital skill. “Scoring is based on instinct but there are things you can work on,” explains Michael Owen, one of the game’s great penalty-box poachers, “like picking up a position where defenders can’t see you”.
Shoot with swerve
Keepers hate facing a swerving, curling, dipping, shot – just look Gareth Bale’s success with knuckleball free-kicks at Euro 2016. So don’t rely on the wind, but learn the techniques to put vicious curl on the ball. First: “Strike the ball in the middle,” advises trick shot expert Nani. “This makes it move side-to-side, which is very difficult for the goalkeeper.”
Volley like Van Basten
Hitting the perfect volley is probably the hardest shot to master in football – so it’s a good thing the pros gave us drills and tips on how to do it. Want to slam home a worldie, or pull off a bicycle kick worthy of breaking YouTube? Keep your eye on the ball, be patient and practise, practise, practise.
Practise only the best drills
We don’t enjoy saying it but training is the only way to improve in football, especially shooting. When you receive the ball with defenders all around you, hitting the target with power and precision needs to be second nature. As Charlie Austin says: “The goal never moves” – so learn these drills until you can score with your eyes closed.