Have you noticed that most of the goals scored by soccer players are done while they are on the run? They make it look so easy but we bet that you will miss the ball or shoot it awkwardly the first time that you try it.
Knowing how to dribble, shoot, or catch a through-pass is what separates a great player from the average player. In fact, the best strikers in the world are usually those that can shoot the farthest—and they usually do this while on the run.
Achieving this requires critical thinking and timing your run perfectly. You have to know where the ball is at all times. Shooting the ball while running can come in two ways namely ground kick and volley.
In a ground kick, the player runs with the ball and takes the shot. In most cases when the shot is too powerful, the best goalkeepers will usually push the ball away rather than attempting to catch it.
In volley, the player usually runs to the ball that has been made airborne either through an upward pass or through a rebound and fires a shot towards the goal. A well-struck volley usually rises to the top edge of the goalpost making it harder for the goalkeeper to catch.
While either of the kicks can be achieved while running, the ground kick is the one that is commonly executed by soccer players. Are these soccer players superhumans or the skill of shooting the ball while running something they perfected from multiple training sessions?
Today we are going to walk you through the techniques to improve your skill of running and shooting the ball as well as tell you in detail the various ways you can pull off this skill.
How to shoot while running in soccer?
To set the records straight, soccer players that shoot while running are not superhuman. They have simply practiced these skills so frequently in their coaching drills that it has not become easy for them to perform it like it is nothing special at all—as they say, practice makes perfect.
Goalscoring chances don’t come easily in soccer. To create more scoring chances, players have to move around and make false runs to force the opponents to shift from their defensive positions.
This also means that most of the players will receive the ball while running and will have to continue their run with the ball. The faster a player can run, the more difficult it will be for the opposition defenders to catch up with them.
Also, when the player running with the ball gets close to the goalkeeper, he or she has no time to stop and think. Therefore, he or she will have to shoot the ball while still running.
Shooting is one of the most important skills in soccer—especially for attacking players—because if you can’t shoot, you can’t score a goal. As an attacking player, if you don’t score goals that will help your team to win games, you may end up warming the bench—and that may just be the start of your career decline.
Shooting from a standstill is the first step to shooting on the run. Perfecting this skill is all about repeated practice and here are the steps that will help you to shoot while running.
Step 1: Place your plant foot in the perfect position
Planting a foot is simply a term used to describe how you place the foot that supports your weight while you shoot the ball. Ideally, your plant foot should be your weaker foot so that you can use your stronger foot to strike the ball.
So, a right-footed player will use his or her left foot as the plant foot. The position of your plant foot when you are shooting on the run is very important. Since you and the ball are on the run, you need to time the place you put your plant foot quickly.
If you place your plant foot far behind the ball, you may face the challenge of knocking it over the bar. On the other hand, if you place your plant foot too far in front of the ball, it might cause you to mishit the ball or totally miss it.
The right place for your plant foot to be is almost level with the ball and this is hard to achieve when you are shooting on the run. Once you feel like you are reaching for the ball, it is a sign that your plant foot is not where it should be.
It is hard to get your full power behind the ball when you are reaching for it. If you are a diehard soccer fan, we bet that you must have seen players slice the ball so awkwardly.
Step 2: Focus on where you will make contact with the ball
While running with the ball, you need to mentally plan your kick and that includes deciding on where you want to kick the ball to get it flying in the desired direction.
Since you are running really fast your first instinct might be to hit the ball with full force. However, learn to always prioritize contact over power.
Composure and contact will always trump hitting the ball hard. You need to compose yourself properly, position your plant foot, and hit the ball at the center with the right part of your foot.
The best part of the foot to make contact with the ball is with the ball of the foot or the side of the big toe. Using this part of the foot allows you to direct the ball to any corner of the post that you want it to go.
The goalkeepers are usually in the center, so, to score, you have to target the far corners of the post and aim really high or really low because it is harder for the goalkeepers to get on the ground or dive high compared to when the ball is about their waist-high.
Step 3: Practice makes perfect
Since timing is everything, you need a lot of practice to perfect your run so that your plant foot is always by the side of the ball. The harder you practice, the more you will build a muscle memory that tells you the perfect time to shoot.
You can ask a friend to record a few clips of your runs from the side. View the clips afterward to help you identify your mistakes and work on correcting them.
How to practice shooting while running?
It is not enough to simply shoot while running with the ball. The goal is always to be able to shoot accurately because that is how you can increase your chance of scoring.
The most difficult thing when running at up to 70% percent of your capacity is the timing of when to place your plant foot. The time when you make the hop to plant your foot and the time you strike the ball are the two most difficult parts of shooting while running.
There is no magic in becoming perfect at this because it boils down to how much you are willing to practice. Some of the tips that will help you to perfect this skill include;
1. Start off your practicing very slow
We suggest that in your first tries you should simply keep the ball on a spot and run-up to it, place your planting foot and take a shot. Once you have perfected this and you feel more confident, move to rolling the ball and then taking the shot.
Move up to jogging and striking the ball. The goal here is to grow your muscle memory on the perfect time to plant your foot and strike the ball.
Keep the process going until you achieve your full sprint with the ball. The biggest mistake you will make is to try to go from a total novice who cannot even run from the ball to a professional overnight.
If you don’t know how to shoot while standing or how to shoot with the ball just rolled out in front of you, you need to learn that first. This is a progressive thing and skipping steps will not get you far.
Once you have learned how to shoot the ball, every other step boils down to your timing. That is how you time planting your foot and how you time your shot.
Interestingly, you will be able to overcome this challenge too with continuous practice.
2. Get the help of a friend
Sometimes in soccer, the player with the ball may see you running towards the goal and decide to lay the pass for you if they feel you have a better chance of scoring. This is one of the most frequently used techniques in soccer today.
To perfect this so that you don’t mishit the ball when you get such a pass in a game you need to simulate the scenario as much as possible—and that is where you will need the help of your friend.
Stand just outside the 18 yds box facing the goalpost while your friend stands on the side. Have your friend play a short pass across the 6 yds box while you run and hit the ball.
Do this repeatedly until you perfect the timing of your run and shooting of the ball. Your friend can also play the ball towards you while you run and try to hit it accurately.
Running and shooting with the ball is difficult but trying to time your run when the ball is coming towards you is even more difficult. Only move to this drill when you have perfected running with the ball.
Apart from timing, the next biggest mistake that most soccer players make when it comes to running with the ball is that they take their eyes off the ball when they are about to shoot. That can easily cause them to miss their kick.
While running with the ball, you have to always keep your eyes on the ball. Perhaps, you can raise your head to see the position of the goalkeeper or to carve a mental picture of where you want to play the ball.
However, from the moment you plant your foot to the time you shoot the ball, you need to keep your eyes on the ball. With your eyes on the ball, you can easily determine where to strike the ball so that it moves in the direction you want it to go.
Another big mistake that armature soccer players make when it comes to shooting while running is that they lean backward after planting their feet. This makes it harder for them to execute a perfect short as their foot will likely hit the ball from under causing it to fly into the stand.
If you have perfected your skills and have followed all the drills but are still unable to shoot the ball far, it may be because of some other factors like the wrong set of footwear or that you are using your less dominant foot. See all the reasons why you can’t kick a soccer ball far here.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!