Proper shooting technique can make the difference between a simple scoring opportunity and a goal. Here are some coaching points to make with your youth soccer team as you work on shooting drills at practice.

Shoot Low- Low shots have the highest probability of sneaking into the goal, while high shots are easily picked off by the goaltender. Don’t get fancy with your shots, hit the ball with authority, and keep it low, preferably away from the goalie.

Toe Down, Head Down- Striking the ball with the laces, and keeping your toe and head down should lead to a low, hard shot. As your players work on shooting drills in practice, make this point, and correct them when they falter. Bad habits in practice bleed over into the game, and you want to avoid this at all costs.

Spontaneity- As a soccer fan, nothing gets me angrier than watching a player on my team electing to take another touch, instead of an early, unexpected shot. As a coach, I never get angry and instead focus on educating my players at practice.

I like to drive the point home with my players that I want them to shoot on the goal as much as possible, whenever the opportunity arises. The longer you wait before shooting, the more time the goalie has to adjust and cut off your angle.

Follow through- Once you take a shot, stay engaged. If the ball bounces off the goalie, get yourself in a position to fire it again into the back of the net. Good players create their own luck around the goal, and it all starts with good technique and creativity.