In soccer, shooting a ball with finesse is often referred to as finishing. It is a fundamental skill for any forward to have. Aside from executing the proper technique, keeping one’s composure will lead to greater precision and higher shot conversions. Yet, the technique remains the backbone of a good strike. Therefore, we must analyze the player’s actions before and after the ball has left their foot.
Scenario 1 – Basic Finishing
In this scenario, the ball is stationary and placed ten yards from an open goal. Without a goalkeeper to beat, the player must use the correct form to execute the basic finish. The primary focus of the exercise is getting the right contact on the ball and maintaining proper form. Once the player becomes comfortable with the basic finish, the focus will shift to understanding more advanced scenarios.
Step 1- Approaching the Ball
As the player approaches the ball, they should have already created a mental picture of where to place it. As they progress towards the ball, their first focus should be on their plant-foot in relation to their body. It is important to note; the body position is a crucial indicator of where they intend to put the ball.
Step 2 – Arriving at the Ball
Once they have arrived, the player must place their plant foot parallel to the ball and point their toes toward the direction they wish the ball to travel. The knee on the none-kicking leg should be slightly bent. The kicker should keep their eyes on the ball and their body leaning forward. Leaning back will cause the ball to go off the ground. The kicker should simultaneously open up their body.
Most players will use their arms on the none kicking side to help open up their bodies. A motion as if they were trying to grab onto the end of a rope. Concurrently the player must begin to cock their kicking leg backward in preparation for the pass.
Step 3 – Open Up for Contact
Before the player accelerates their kicking leg forward, their foot should open up to an almost ninety-degree angle. Their form on the kicking leg should resemble the shape of a golf club and must remain this way until the player has had complete contact with the ball, similar to a basic pass. The objective is to hit the center of the ball using the inside of the foot. Once the player develops, they will learn to manipulate different angles of their foot and the ball to achieve different results. Their eyes must remain focused on the ball and only visualize the mental picture created in step 1. At the height of the strike, the player must exhale, releasing the breath they collected to help execute the shot.
Step 4 – Landing
The landing is ever necessary as the process before the finish. Suppose the player chooses to go across their body. In that case, they will land with their kicking foot on the ground, their heel on their standing foot will lift off the ground, and their back will slightly face the goal. However, if they decide to hit it straight, their momentum will pull them forward, and with a slight hop, the player will land on the same foot they kicked the ball with, similar to a basic pass.