Shooting and passing is what you'll be doing 50% of the time. The other half is used by your ball skills. But, the one thing that decides matches, is goals, and you can't get those without shooting and passing. So I suggest, if you're really a beginner when it comes to soccer, you learn to pass and shoot really well before you continue to do anything else, because - if you have the ball, and you can shoot but not dribble, you can score goals or give the perfect pass to a teammate. If you can't shoot, but you can dribble...you can dribble all you want, it's not going to help.
Basics of every shot
Whatever type of shot you're going to pull off, you need to do a few thing:.
- Give yourself some space. Find some open space, put the ball there in a nice position, and get your body aligned correctly as well. Also, already know and imagine where you want the ball to go and which kick you're going to use, if you decide or have doubts later on, you'll never perform well.
- Put down your planting foot. Now place your non-kicking foot besides the ball, not too far away, but keep room for the swing. Make sure the planting foot is pointing towards the target, and your knee slightly bend. It depends on the type of shot how far before/after the ball you should place your foot.
- (Optional, but very much recommended) Get your arms out. Get your arms out, any way you like. However, the common way, is to move the non-kicking foot arm diagonally back and up a bit. The other arm is diagonally down and forward. What do arms do? They give extra balance, extra momentum and keep away any defenders.
- Initiate the swing (back). Actually, you should do that while planting your other foot firmly into the ground. As you put down the non-kicking foot, your kicking foot is already off the ground and swinging back (you can't run with two feet on the ground, can you?). Use this momentum to swing it back even more, because a lot of people are afraid to do this and tense up and do a very short swing, which isn't good at all. However, don't overdo it, as this will only hinder you and put you off balance.
- Unleash the power. Now you start to quickly move your leg forward. Your upper leg should move first, until your knee is roughly above the ball. Then, you need to add even more power and start the actual shot by swinging your lower leg to the ball, using the desired touch. This two-step leg movement should be done in a fluent motion, and not look like some sort of robot.*
- Follow through. Now, depending on the shot, comes the follow through. After your first contact with the ball you continue to move your kicking foot in a certain direction and to a certain extent, to add more power, levitate the ball, add curve, etc.
*The advantage of this motion, is that it requires good swinging technique to do, and it adds more power and accuracy (because the moment you hit the ball, is the moment your leg is at full speed and locked). So, make sure you don't have a stiff leg when shooting, and you don't hit the ball too early or late in your swing by following the tips!
Of course, you can add your own little tweaks here and there, but try to stick to this basic, correct technique as much as you can. The next two posts will be about passing and shooting respectively, explaining all the different possibilities and types more in-depth.