Once the Striker has perfected his shooting mechanics with a stationary ball and rolling ball, the level of difficultly needs to be increased. I’ve trained Strikers separately from other players. To hone a Strikers shooting technique I’ve created a series of shooting drills that will be displayed in my Striker Shooting Drills Blog series. The following video demonstrates one of my Striker Training Shooting Drills I have utilized for many seasons. Ideally, Strikers should take no less than 100 quality shots per training session, with a minimal lag time between shooting repetitions.
These drills offer numerous options. The angle of service can be modified, the service type can be modified, and the timing of pressure from a defender can be modified. Except where noted, the Striker should shoot the ball first time.
In the first drill the Server is positioned between the Striker (Blue Player) and a defender (Red Player). The defender is positioned slightly further from the target shooting area. The initial starting position can be adjusted to reduce or increase the time pressure on the Striker, and account for the speed of the athletes. Initially, the ball is served on the ground ahead of the Striker to the penalty arc area or slightly beyond. As the ball is played both athletes attempt to get to the ball first. The Striker will attempt to reach the ball first and take a shoot to far post, if the goalkeeper has the near post covered. The defender will attempt to block the shot. If the defender intercepts the ball before the Striker, he can take the shot. First to the ball shoots the ball. Again, adjustments can be made to the starting position of the defender to allow the Striker to reach the ball first the majority of time, while also providing maximum time pressure. Strikers need to be reminded to place their support foot next to the ball at the moment contact is made with the ball. In addition, the Strikers hips and shoulders need to be aligned with the inside of the far post, and the follow-thru needs to be directed to the inside of the far post. Oftentimes, players taking these shots will over-rotate and the foregoing body positions and follow-thru are well wide of the target area. Strikers must also focus on striking the center of the ball, and not the underside of the ball, to avoid the ball sailing over the goal. The degree of difficulty can be increased by the type of service provided. The Server can throw the ball to the target area so that the Striker will need to deal will a bouncing ball moving across the penalty arc. The service should be a low arc so the ball continues to be moving away from the Striker, and not bouncing higher than thigh level at the time the Striker arrives to shot the ball around the penalty arc area or slightly behind. To increase the difficulty further, the Server signals the Striker to run and the Server can throw the ball to the target area. The Striker must then either shot the ball while the ball is in the air (before it makes contact with ground) or use a single preparation touch with his head, chest or thigh before shooting.
In the second drill the Server is positioned on the opposite side of the field from the Striker and defender. Initial starting positions of the Striker (Blue Player) and defender (Red Player) remain the same from the first drill. As the Server plays the ball both the Striker and defender attempt to reach the ball first as with the previous drill. The difference in this version of the drill is that the ball is headed towards the Striker rather than moving away from him. As with the previous drill, the Server can throw the ball to the target area so that the Striker will need to deal will a bouncing ball moving across the penalty arc. The service should be a low arc so the ball continues to be moving towards the Striker, and not bouncing higher than thigh level at the time the Striker arrives to shot the ball around the penalty arc area or slightly before. The pace of the service can also be modified, if the ball cannot be shot first time, you can permit a preparation touch before the shot. To increase the difficulty further, the Server can signal the Striker to run and the Server can throw the ball to the target area. The Striker must then either shot the ball while the ball is in the air (before it makes contact with ground) or use a single preparation touch with his head, chest or thigh before shooting.
The angle of this drill can be modified. The drill can incorporate service from various angles. I include service from the goal line as well as a high service from the center of the field to a Striker moving left to right across the top of the penalty area and vice versa. The Striker in the foregoing version must take the ball off his head, chest or thigh for a shot as he is moving across the goal. The quality of the service is important is all variations of this drill. Over the years of doing this drill, and the other drills I have used to train Strikers, my service quality improved. The goal is to provide quality shooting opportunities for the Striker with each service.