3 ways to perfect your football shooting technique

We Make Footballers
05 April 2024

Sir Alex Ferguson once said that attack wins you games, defence wins you titles. It is one of the most famous quotes attributed to arguably the greatest manager English club football has ever seen. 

And whilst most have taken it to mean you cannot be a successful team without a sturdy back line, it also acknowledges football matches are won by goals. Which is why a good shooting technique is such an important skill to have.

It is also amongst the most glamorous. Virtually every person who has ever played football has wanted to score that last minute winner in a cup final for their club or country. 

There is a reason why when children kick a ball for the first time, their natural inclination is to try and get it between two posts.

The best way to scoring goals is through honing the craft of finishing. Want to know how to do so? Here are three ways to perfect your football shooting technique.

Improve your shooting accuracy

Power is important when it comes to shooting, make no mistake about it. Shoot hard and fast and it can become difficult for a goalkeeper to make the save, even if they get close to the ball. 

A powerful shot can also bring with it the element of surprise. If the ball has already travelled some distance on its way whistling towards goal before the goalkeeper has time to react to what is happening, the chances of it nestling in the back of the net are hugely increased.

But the best way to ensure goal scoring success is via accuracy. The ability to place the football where a goalkeeper cannot reach no matter how hard they try is arguably the most effective way to perfect your shooting technique.

The good news is that improving accuracy is easy to do either on the training pitch or at home. It can be as simple as picking out a corner of the goal and consistently trying to shoot into it. 

If you do not have a goal, then make one with a couple of poles or cones. This allows you to create a target as big or as small as you like. Increasing the distance you are shooting from or using your weaker foot (more on that in a minute) further improves accuracy.

Professional football training aids for shooting accuracy include target nets which can be attached to the frame of a goal and target sheets for blocking out the net other than defined areas. 

If you can perfect your football shooting technique to pick out the top or bottom corner with unerring accuracy every time, your chances of scoring are much increased.


One-on-one finishing

Any striker will tell you that the secret to a good scoring rate is being able to put away one-on-one opportunities. They represent an effective way to getting on the scoresheet – but can also be amongst the difficult to convert. 

Just ask France’s Randal Molo Muani, who saw his one-on-one in the final seconds of the 2022 World Cup final kept out by Emiliano Martinez. Argentina went on to lift the trophy on penalties.

One-on-one finishing requires perfecting a different sort of shooting technique to going for goal from distance or a close-range effort. Much of it comes down to showing no nerves or indecision in the heat of battle when faced with only a goalkeeper to beat.

The ideal finish in one-on-one situations is to slip the ball beyond the advancing goalkeeper at the opportune moment. Doing this requires applying the same sort of cool head used when in a one-on-one situation with an outfield player.

1v1 football training forms a huge part of what we do at We Make Footballers, because the ability to take on an opponent and make good decisions plays such a crucial role across the sport. 

That the skill is so transferable to scoring goals means football players in our academies are learning ways to perfect their shooting technique before they even realise it - and often without being directly involved in a shooting drill. 


Selecting which foot to use

The ultimate dream for football players and the coaches working with them is they become equally adept at using both left and right foot. 

That is something we work on at We Make Footballers, knowing capable two-footed players without an obvious weaker side stand a much greater chance of achieving their aims in the sport.

Realistically though, it is a challenge to achieve equal ability levels in left and right. There is always a natural inclination to use what is perceived as our stronger side. Even Lionel Messi is famed for his wizard of a left foot; that is not to say his right is bad, just his left is better.

When it comes to ways to perfect your shooting technique, foot selection can therefore make a big difference. Often, it will come down to circumstances and is therefore based on instinct.

In an ideal situation, taking a touch to create space and setting onto the stronger foot will increase the chances of a shot being successful. This requires a good first touch (another article for another day) and a quick thought process of where to move the ball to.

But when crowded out by defenders or looking to go for goal first time, getting the ball onto your better side may not be possible. Which is why it is beneficial to be able to shoot as effectively as possible with right and left.

Ultimately, decision making is behind the process of opting for right or left. And that – as well as being able to confidently go for goal with both feet in the first place – comes down to practice.


Practice makes permanent

Hang on we hear you cry, we have already listed three ways to perfect your football shooting technique? Correct. But each of those still requires repetition to truly master the skill. 

Practice makes permanent is the ethos behind We Make Footballers. It has helped make us the leading supplier of football coaching in England for children aged between 4 and 12. 

Football players discovering the game in our academies do so through repetition and learning from mistakes under the watchful eye of FA qualified coaches in a fun and safe environment.

And there is nothing more fun in football than scoring goals. 


To find your nearest We Make Footballers academy and sign up for a free first session, please click ‘Find Your Nearest Academy’ at the top of this page.