"Teaching kids soccer shots"  Instep drive, passes, volleys
and headers."

There are many soccer shots that kid soccer players can use to score goals. The one thing I have learned is that kids learn to finish not just by practicing the techniques, but also in small sided games where they are under pressure from an opponent.

Like every technique players have to turn technique into skill - meaning they have to practice under pressure. Trying to get a shot off when there is a defender there is different proposition when there is no pressure.

Here are a few of the ways that players can finish chances with different soccer shots and the age groups that players should be introduced to the skills.

  • Instep drive: U6 - U12
  • Chipping the soccer ball: U10-U12
  • Passing the ball: U6 - U12
  • Volleys - inside and instep: U10 - U12
  • Headers: U10 -U12
  • Small sided game: Every age group.

Coaching point: All kids can benefit from small sided games w/lots of finishing chances with shots and passes. Headers and volleys will come into play as the kids get used to dealing with balls in the air.

These soccer shots are just a few of the ways in which players can finish off a goal. Lets get into how some of these techniques can help young players finish or score a goal.

Instep drive

The instep drive is the standard shot with the instep or laces that young players must learn to hit. The technique is not easy to learn as the players have to learn how to get the timing down.

The players have to work on approach, getting the plant foot next to the soccer ball, locking the ankle, getting the toe down and knee over the ball.

The challenge for young players is getting the toe down and locking the ankle. I like to do a lot of instep exercises with the players so they learn how to lock the ankle and learn where the sweet spot is on the foot. Learn more about the instep drive and shooting techniques here.

Once the players get the technique down and start striking the soccer ball and hitting the sweet spot on the foot the shot is most effective.

Check out this quick video on striking the soccer ball...

Coaching tip: The coach will see very little spin on the soccer ball if the player hits this shot cleanly. The ball will also move in the air which makes the ball very hard to save.

Chipping the soccer ball

The chip is like a shot except the player is trying to lift the soccer ball over a goalkeeper or place the ball in a corner of the goal.

Technique: Unlike the instep drive the player has to get underneath the soccer ball when striking the ball instead of driving through the middle of the soccer ball.

The toe is turned out instead of down and the player has very little follow through. There should be some back spin on the soccer ball when it is in the air.

Get more tips and techniques on chipping the soccer ball.

Scoring with a pass...

There are times when a player just needs to use the inside of the foot to put the soccer ball in the back of the net. This is easier said than done because young players think they need to blast the ball into the back of the net.

Some shots just need to be placed into the back of the net without forcing the soccer ball.

A player running into the goal area that just needs to keep the soccer ball down and place the soccer ball into the net.

Here is an example from a pro just passing the soccer ball into the net...

Coaching tip: How do we teach players to use the inside of the foot. Coaches can teach players how to pass the soccer ball with good technique. Once the players get into a small sided the coach can restrict the players by only letting them score with the inside of the foot.

Volley the ball out of the air...

Volleys are little harder to teach because the volley is a ball hit out of the air with either the laces or the inside of the foot. In coaching kids I describe volley as hitting a pass or a shot out of air instead of on the ground...the players are using the same techniques to hit a ball out of the air.

Coaching point: The plant foot is just as important with a volley as it is with a pass.

Technique: The foot should be held with the toe up, heel down and ankle locked. The players should play the foot through the middle of the soccer ball.

So, where does the soccer volley apply to the finishing or a soccer shot - ball in front of the goal in the air that just needs a nice touch to get the soccer ball into the back of the net.

A coach demo on how to use the side volley to score a goal.

Once the players have the basic inside foot volley down they can learn how to hit a side volley and a half volley.

Attacking headers

The attacking header is a soccer shot that really comes into play in the older age groups. The players have to overcome the fear of heading the soccer ball.

The proper technique should be introduced at the younger ages so the players learn how to make proper contact with the soccer ball.

Technique: The players has to get over the soccer ball and head the soccer ball down. This makes it very hard for the goal keeper to make a save.

Small sided games

How do we get kids into situation where they get to practice all these soccer shots?

Answer?...Small sided fun games

Here is a video from a 3v3 tournament where kids use a variety of shots to finish like the instep, volley, chip and passes - very good.

Small sided games help young players take the soccer shots they have learned in training and apply them to the soccer game.

Coaches can use cone goals, pug goals and Coerver goals to set up fields where players can have lots of chances to score goals. The coach can use a combination of goals like cone goals, flag goals and pug goals or bigger Coerver goals.

Enjoy your coaching!

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