Here are some ideas for behavior you want to encourage that will lead to goals and that you might want to give patches for:
If you watch a Goals DVD like "404 Great Goals" you will notice that most goals are scored directly in front of the goal...this is especially true in youth soccer. Also, you will notice that an alert Forward who stays near the Goal Front can score goals off rebounds and defensive mistakes.
Another question asked was which Practice Games can help improve scoring.
There are many "shooting drills", and I've tried dozens over the years. The problem with all drills is that they don't involve competition and aren't played at game speed and under pressure - a kid might look great in a "drill", but not be able to perform as well in a game because they aren't used to the pressure and didn't perform the "drill" at Game Speed. This is the reason I started using Practice Games. There are at least 7 SoccerHelp Practice Games that I think can help scoring:
- Being in position for rebounds
- Playing off the Far Post
- Stealing the ball from an opponent in your "Attacking Third" (the third of the field nearest the goal you are attacking) or in your Attacking Half (the half of the field closest to the goal you are attacking)
- Consistently being in scoring position (in front of the goal) EVEN if a goal isn't scored. (If you can get your players to do the RIGHT things, they will start to score lots of goals).
- Being alert, aggressive and taking a one-touch shot, even if it doesn't score.
- Perhaps even give a patch for any decent shot taken from inside your Penalty Box.
- In this phase of training, give a patch for any goal scored.
- Remember that you must also continue to praise and give patches to defenders, the Goalie and Defensive Midfielders (Stoppers) so they don't feel left out or second-rate. Once your attackers learn how to score, they will get lots of positive feedback and praise, and at that point it isn't necessary to give patches to attackers, and it can even be counter-productive.
The following is from the review of "404 Great Goals". These are observations about how most goals are scored out of the 404 goals that are shown on the DVD: There are many "shooting drills", and I've tried dozens over the years. The problem with all drills is that they don't involve competition and aren't played at game speed and under pressure - a kid might look great in a "drill", but not be able to perform as well in a game because they aren't used to the pressure and didn't perform the "drill" at Game Speed. This is the reason I started using Practice Games. There are at least 7 SoccerHelp Practice Games that I think can help scoring:
- Dribble, Turn and Shoot Race
- Dribble Around Cone and Pass Relay Race (because it encourages accuracy, alertness, coming to meet the ball, and kicking it while running)
- Kick A Crossed Ball Game (teaches how to kick a crossed ball)
- Pass To Space, Run With Ball and Shoot Game
- Teaching Forwards to be Opportunistic in the Penalty Box
- Run To Ball and Shoot With Side of the Foot (teaches kicking a ball sideways)
- 2 Team Keep Away (It teaches aggressive play, double teaming to steal the ball, "channeling" the ballhandler to the sideline or into the corner as a way to steal the ball, alertness and quick decision-making. You can also use it to teach teamwork, one-touch passing, support, movement off the ball, defensive pressure, quick transitions from offense to defense, "give and go's" and wall passes and talking. This game will help your players learn to make fast decisions and how to deal with pressure, and is a great work-out - they will be worn-out after 2 or 3 minutes.)
- Most goals 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. (So try to get several players in front of the goal and send the ball there).
- What caused the goal? Some are individual brilliance, some are caused by dribbling, but many result from balls crossed to the goal front within 12 yards of the goal.
- Notice that many goals are scored from the Far Post on a cross (these are very difficult for the Goalie to cover).
- Notice that in the scoring area, one touch passes and wall passes are used play the ball to open space in front of attackers so they can run onto the ball.
- Many goals originate from passes to space near the goal front ("passes to space" instead of "passes to feet").
- 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 (few scissors or Coerver type moves). (However, it is important for young players to practice footwork and dribbling).
- Occasionally, goals are scored on breakaways or from aggressive runs into the box, but at high levels of play the defenders are very good and don't allow those a lot.
- Quite a few goals are scored from flick or redirected headers.
- Scrappy, aggressive strikers will score goals on rebounds and second efforts. (Guys like Tony Coffee, Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer aren't as fast or athletic as Andy Cole, but they are smart, tough and position themselves well).
- On Penalty Kicks, the Goalkeeper should stay on his feet until the ball is struck.
- As many goals are scored using the inside of the foot as by instep drives.
- 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.
- Many goals are scored from Set Plays (corner kicks, free kicks and PK's)
- If there is one lesson here, it has to be that 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.
- 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".