How to Make Your Soccer Shot Stronger
A powerful soccer shot sounds and looks like a work of art, as the shooter’s foot crunches against the ball’s surface with a loud, deep thump. That sound -- heard from goal scorers known for strong shots, including Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard and fellow British standout David Beckham -- can give the goalkeeper second thoughts about putting out a hand to stop a scorcher that may be going 70 mph or more. If your attempts at scoring are more like powder puffs than cannon fire, you can work to make your soccer shot stronger.
Approach the ball, look up to locate the corners of the goal and calculate the direction the ball must take to go into a corner. Aim your shot to go across the face of the goal on the way to a far corner, to make it more difficult to handle for the goalkeeper.
Kick the center of the ball with the laces part of your shoe in what soccer parlance terms the "instep drive shot." Strike through the ball by using your whole body, not just your leg, to generate power, with your arms out at your sides for balance. Balance your knee and head over the ball. Keep your head steady and watch the ball so it stays low and doesn’t go over the crossbar.
Practice as much as possible. Focus on making your weaker foot as strong as the dominant foot. Emulate players such as Beckham, who stay after practice and take extra shots to work on their shooting. Practice on your weak points in shooting, be it the location of your plant foot or the follow-through of your kicking leg after contact with the ball.
Strengthen your legs and your entire body to complement your shooting technique work. Perform exercises to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes, muscles specific to soccer shooting. Perform kickbacks on a cable kickback machine, or with a resistance band running from a post to the back of your Achilles tendon, recommends exercise physiologist Donald T. Kirkendall in “Soccer Anatomy.” Or strengthen these muscles with barbell deadlifts, kettlebell swings or hip extensions, using a stability ball.
Work on the glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles by doing a back-to-back squat if you lack access to gym equipment. Hook elbows with your partner as you lean back, your heels about 2 feet from your partner's. Squat together until your knees form 90-degree angles and then rise in unison.
An award-winning writer and editor, Rogue Parrish has worked at the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and at newspapers from England to Alaska. This world adventurer and travel book author, who graduates summa cum laude in journalism from the University of Maryland, specializes in travel and food -- as well as sports and fitness. She's also a property manager and writes on DIY projects.