How to Shoot a Low Power Shot in Soccer
Low, hard and into the left- or right-hand corner of the net is a sure shot to beat a goalkeeper’s reaching arms -- maybe even a diving keeper. Many people though, much to their frustration, unintentionally sky the ball high above the goal, even when they’re only several yards in front of it. Controlling the height you want a soccer ball to go hinges in part on the angle in which you lean your body. The further back you lean, the higher the ball will fly. Shooting a low power shot in soccer requires leaning slightly forward over the ball and executing the shot smoothly and firmly.
Prepare to shoot when the ball is within a foot of your feet. You don’t need to take many running steps to release a low shot. If you are already running when you spy a good opportunity to shoot, endeavor to keep your strides uniform. Avoid switching to short stuttering steps or extra-long strides as you prepare to shoot; either approach will compromise your control of the ball and it will probably not end up going where you want it to.
Plant your non-shooting leg slightly behind and to the left or right of the ball, depending on whether you are right- or left-footed. Many people execute this “plant” like a small hop. A little hop will give your body extra momentum to then quickly snap your shooting leg forward. For example, if you shoot with your right foot, hop off of your right foot and plant your left foot behind and slightly to the left of the ball before you swing your shooting leg.
Lean slightly forward over the ball as you plant your foot. Leaning back will sky the ball. Leaning too far forward compromises power and accuracy. Glancing at the ball before you plant your foot helps ensure that your body is not leaning too far back. If you cannot see the ball in your vision, you are going to sky the ball.
Swing your shooting leg quickly, but firmly. Begin the swing far behind you, farther back than a normal running stride. You can make contact with the ball two ways. First, you can strike the center -- or slightly lower, but not too low, otherwise this will cause the ball to fly too high -- of the back of the ball with the tongue of your shoe. Or, you can knock the ball with the inside of your shooting foot. Continue swinging your leg right through the ball, so that at the end of the swing your foot is knee-level or higher.
Watch professional soccer players shoot. Observe the angle of their backs change as they run up to the net, plant their foot and shoot.
The small “hop” before swinging your leg should create enough explosive power and momentum that shooting propels your body off of the ground. Falling after shooting is not uncommon, because of the power channeled into the movement. If your feet never leave the ground, you have not summoned enough explosive power. Effective power shooting is a full-body movement.
Glancing at the bottom corner you want the ball to go to right before you plant your foot can help ensure the ball goes where you want it to. However, keepers sometimes watch for this dead-giveaway. The more you play soccer, you will engrave the position of the net into your mind, and eventually you won’t always have to look where it is.
Nadine Smith has been writing since 2010. She teaches college writing and ESL courses and has several years experience tutoring all ages in English, ESL and literature. Nadine holds a Master of Arts in English language and literature from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, where she led seminars as a teaching assistant.