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SoccerHelp Tips: How Goals Are Scored

As I watched early World Cup games, I was reminded of how much I learned by watching the DVD �404 Great Goals�. In the first 8 World Cup games only 18 goals were scored. Most �Goals� DVD�s focus only on the most spectacular goals, such as long shots and spectacular individual efforts, yet about 90% of goals are due to good positioning, team play and good coaching. A team that has players who dribble too much will usually lose to a team that has players who are unselfish and know when to dribble and when to pass. Figo�s great assist to Pauleta in Portugal�s victory over Angola is an example of what you want. On the other hand, there were many examples of players such as Christian Ronaldo dribbling too much and losing the ball. Your enjoyment of the game and your effectiveness as a coach will increase if you improve your understanding of how most goals are scored. This will help you develop a better attack and also a better defense. Watching �404 Great Goals� can be very enlightening because you see how 404 goals were scored in the English Premier League over a 3 year period. You will see that there are patterns and that there are things you can do to improve your offense and defense, and that scrappy forwards can score a lot of goals by positioning, anticipating and hustling. The great thing about this DVD is that most goals are shown twice, once at normal speed, a second time in slow motion and sometimes from a different angle, and the build up of play is shown.

Following are some of the things you can learn by watching's "404 Great Goals" DVD. Click here to read a review of "404 Great Goals" DVD. Watch for the types of goals and support play described below as you watch World Cup matches:

  1. Notice the location from which most goals are scored. Notice that most are scored from in front of the goal and inside the Penalty Mark (12 yards from the goal) when several attackers are in the area.
  2. Watch the runs and positioning of supporting attackers.
  3. Ask: What caused the goal? Some are individual brilliance, some are caused by dribbling, butmany result from balls crossed to the goal front within 12 yards of the goal.
  4. Notice that many goals are scored from the Far Post on a cross (these are very difficult for the Goalie to cover). Crossed balls are especially difficult for the Goalkeeper because the ball is coming from the side, but the shot is from the front and from close to the goal, so the Keeper has little time to react.
  5. Notice that in the Danger Zone, one touch passes and wall passes are used to play the ball to open space in front of attackers so they can run onto the ball.
  6. Many goals originate from passes to space near the goal front ("passes to space" instead of "passes to feet").
  7. Very few goals occur because a player makes a fancy "move". They mostly result from passing to attackers in front of the goal, inside the Penalty Box. The moves involved are usually simple body swerves, quick cuts, or a change of speed.
  8. Occasionally, goals are scored on breakaways or from aggressive runs into the Penalty Box, but at high levels of play the defenders are very good and don't allow those a lot.
  9. Quite a few goals are scored from flick or redirected headers.
  10. Scrappy, aggressive strikers will position themselves well and score goals on rebounds and second efforts.
  11. On Penalty Kicks, the Goalkeeper should stay on his feet until the ball is struck.
  12. As many goals are scored using the inside of the foot as by instep drives.
  13. Most headers are scored inside the Goal Box and many of the headers are headed down to the ground. If you have a player who can head the ball, having him play off the Far Post on corner kicks and crossed balls may be a good idea.
  14. Many goals (about 20% to 30% of those at high levels of play) are scored from Set Plays (corner kicks, free kicks and penalty kicks).
  15. You can increase your odds of scoring by getting several attackers in front of the goal and then passing the ball into that area. Many goals are due to having attackers in front of the goal and sending the ball there.
  16. Smart, unselfish attackers will dribble to draw defenders, which will create the opportunity to pass to an open teammate (versus being selfish, dribbling too much and losing the ball). The players who can create scoring opportunities in this way are very valuable and deserve credit for the goals that result from their assists. As a coach, you should always give these players immediate credit for the assist, and do so in front of all players and parents.You should also insist that the first thing the scorer does (instead of trying to grab the spotlight and all the glory) is to thank the player who made the assist by giving him or her a "high 5" that everyone can see (a 'thank you" that all the other players and spectators will notice). This is a way to publicly say "thanks for the assist, I recognize that you allowed me to score this goal".

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