“You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky
 

Gretzky was most likely referring to five-a-side football when he uttered these pearls of wisdom.  The short-sided form of the game, with its smaller goals, restrictions on where you can shoot from and faster, more pressured play, thrives on powerful and accurate shooting.

But are your strikes on goal as powerful and accurate as you would like them to be?

Here, professional players and coaches from all forms of the game, from 11-a-side to Futsal, provide you with this exclusive list of 27 quick and dirty tips to help you improve your shots on goal during your next 5-a-side game.

 

Futsalfreekicker

 

  • Try to run up on your toes and hit the ball in the middle or just above the middle to keep your shots low

  • Strike the ball with your laces to generate more power and the follow-through is up to you
     

Paul Spacey, L.A. Soccer Coach

 

  • It is pointless shooting off-balance – make sure you are in a position to shoot rather than taking wasteful shots off-balance

  • The connection for power should be with your laces, keeping your foot firmly locked

  • Get your body (and knee in particular) over the ball and DO NOT lean back

  • Upper body shape is often overlooked but is very important – keep your upper body firm and upright, avoiding being bent over or crouched down

  • Everybody likes to go for the top corners, but keeping your shots low and into the corners will result in more goals
     

Stuart Cook, England International Futsal Player

 

  • Main thing I try and do is accurately place it with laces, in between a smash and a side foot, definitely improved my goal ratio

  • Also catching the keeper by surprise, I often try and throw a fake or shimmy in just before I shoot so the keeper isn’t set properly
     

Joe Smith, FlowInFootball

 

  • For me 5-a-side is about deception – you have such a short amount of time on the ball outfoxing your opponent is key, particularly the goalkeeper, who covers such a vast amount of the goal

  • How about trying a no-look shot? Just before you make contact with the ball twist your head and see if the keeper falls for it

  • For me, an effective technique for shooting is a toe poke. 5-a-side is the perfect environment to implement it. Particularly if the goalkeeper isn’t set!

  • Another favourite of mine is giving the keeper the ‘eyes’.  Open your body up to look like you are going to bend the ball into the far corner, then wrap your foot around the ball and steer it to the near post.  Make sure you try and catch eyes with the goalie before striking the ball

  • Keep your standing foot close to the ball and balanced

  • If you are looking for power strike through the ball, imagine there is a small circle in the middle of the ball and hit that spot with your laces

  • Again, if you’re going for power rather than craft, strike it low and keep your chin and knee over the ball
     

Chris, 5-A-Side.com

 

  • One thing that we find really useful is focusing on trying to relax when you’re shooting. If you’re tensing as you shoot then you can often end up pulling the shot and not placing it where you want to. Instead, work on your composure in front of goal – practice until you know what you’re going to do in a variety of situations and then the decision, when it comes to getting a shooting opportunity in a game, should be an easy one, allowing you to stay calm and allow your technique to do the rest. It really is a matter of getting lots of practice.
     

Roy Connolly, Director of Player Development, Futsal Worldwide (UK)

 

  • Aim to shoot across the goalkeeper to the far side of the goal

  • Practice clearing your head for a second and focus only on the ball and your technique

  • Practice ‘keepy-uppys’ to get used to finding the middle of the ball

  • Ensure your standing foot is pointing toward where you want the ball to go

  • After you have made contact with the ball, follow through in the direction of the shot and land on the foot you hit the ball with

  • When practising, get your accuracy and technique right first then slowly build up the power
     

Doug Reed, England International Futsal Player

 

  • It is vital to balance power with precision – never just go for power
     

Natasha Dowie, LLFC and England International Football Player

 

  • Practice different shooting techniques for different game scenarios

  • Before hitting your shot, ‘take a picture’ of the goalkeeper’s positioning and look for the gap
     

Luke Ballinger, England International Futsal Player and Record Goalscorer 

 

  • Composure is key – pick your spot and do not change your mind

Scoring more goals

 

Dene Mitchell (Twitter - @5asidecoach) is the founder and editor of Five-A-Side Football Coach, a blog dedicated to providing effective football training for peak performance for short-sided versions of the game. Download his free 5-A-Side Performance Workout Guide (http://fiveasidefootballcoach.com/performance-workout/) and boost your power, speed and strength in just 6 weeks.