Some ideas to generate more goals

Posted Sept. 16, 2008, at 9:45 p.m.

Soccer is a wonderful sport with a glaring need — more goals.

So here are some suggestions to create more goals:

Number 1: The throw-in is grossly underutilized as an offensive weapon.

Coaches should train a couple of players to unleash long throws in the attacking third that could create scoring opportunities.

Remember, proper technique can compensate for a lack of physical strength. Make a good run up to the sideline and generate good leg thrust, in addition to arm rotation, on your throw-in.

Put in extra work on throw-ins.

Also, design plays for quick throw-ins to try to catch the opponent napping.

The longer you wait to take a throw-in, the more time your opponent has to set its defensive shape.

Number 2: Attack the opposing net with tenacity and commitment. If you occasionally get tangled up with the goalkeeper, so be it. Don’t necessarily run into the goalie but don’t let the goalie get comfortable, either. You will probably get assessed a foul or two because referees overprotect goalkeepers. But if you can create indecision or tentativeness, it could lead to a goal or two.

Number 3: Adhere to the golden rules of shooting: low and to the far post unless the goalkeeper is grossly overplaying the far side and always head the ball downward toward goal.

Number 4: Make sure your goalies are extremely fit and have strong legs for kicking the ball. If you are trailing in the final 15 minutes of a game, have your goalie take any free kicks from 40 yards out or beyond so you can push another player up into the attack. The reason I mention fitness is the goalie needs to hustle up and back to take the free kicks and return to his penalty area.

Number 5: Emphasize point-of-completion focus. How many times have you seen someone make a scintillating run down the flank only to shank the cross? Impress upon your players that a highlight-reel run doesn’t serve any purpose if you botch the cross. You may be winded after a long run but that’s no excuse for not finishing it off with a useful cross.

Number 6: If the ball is wet, shoot, shoot, shoot from everywhere and follow your shot. The same applies on a bone-dry field if you notice that the opposing goalie isn’t sure-handed.

Number 7: Scrimmage with a ball that is extremely bouncy (i.e. kickball) so it requires a better touch to control it.

Number 8: Establish plays for quickly-taken free kicks. Again, you’re trying to catch the opponent offguard. Stop the ball promptly as required by the rules and then take the free kick. Have players make runs so you have options.

Number 9: Have at least one weak-foot practice every two weeks. Force players to pass or shoot with their weak foot. If they forget, the other team earns a free kick. How many times have you seen players squander a scoring opportunity because they tried to shoot with their prominent foot when they had a much better shooting angle with their weak foot.

Number 10: Work on shooting placement (including chipping the ball), striking the ball clean and a quick release.

Number 11: Pray for rule changes like no off-sides on a free kick; no off-sides for players located outside a box created by extending a straight line from both corners of the penalty areas to each other or, even better, no off-sides, period.

Make the penalty spot 17 yards away instead of 12 so referees won’t be as reluctant to call a foul in the penalty area.

Make it allowable to kick the ball into play from the sidelines (instead of throw-ins) or being allowed to throw it in with one hand (i.e. windmill style).

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