Posts Tagged ‘over-the-goal’

When a Goal is not a Good Goal

May 16, 2010

There is something special and exciting about kicking the ball into the back of the net. A goal feels more meaningful. It is just not the same when a goal is scored with no net or when cones are used instead of goals. A goal without a net is the same as draining a three-pointer without a basketball net or hitting a home run without the ball flying over a fence. It is simply not the same.

However, players should realize that hitting the back of the net is often not good enough. What is more important is what part of the net the ball hits. In real estate, the three most important words are, “location, location, location”. The same is true of goals.

Take a look at the diagram below. If a goalkeeper knows how to dive properly, the yellow area represents the goal area that he/she can easily save. A goalkeeper’s height and how far a goalkeeper plays off the goal line will also impact how much area a goalkeeper can cover.

There are four areas off the goal that are difficult for a goalkeeper to reach: the two top triangles (red) and the bottom two triangles (green). As I wrote in the article entitled, “2-3 Goal Difference Per Game: Penalty Kicks“, a player should always attempt to shoot the ball in the two lower corners. The reasons are:

  • It is very hard for a goalkeeper to get to the ground quickly to save the kick.
  • If a player shoots low, the ball will never go over the goal. When shooting for the upper corners, there is a good chance the ball will go over the goal.

To help emphasize the bottom corners and reinforce effective shots, a coach should augment a regular goal with either small pop-up goals or cones/discs. My suggestion is to use discs since a series of well-placed, hard shots will quickly destroy the pop-up goals. With the cones in place (see same diagram), instruct the players to aim their shots between the cone and the post. Even the best goalkeepers in the world will have a tough time reaching these well-placed shots.

I have several tips for coaches to help give their players an incentive to shoot for the lower corners:

  • Award points for well-placed shots (and deduct points for poor shots):
    • 5 points for a goal shot between the cone and post with the weaker foot (4 points with the dominant foot).
    • 2 points for a goal not between the cone and post with the weaker foot (1 point with the dominant foot).
    • 1 point for a missed goal shot lower than the goalkeeper’s hips with the weaker foot (0 points with the dominant foot).
    • 0 points for a missed goal shot higher than a goalkeeper’s hips but lower than the crossbar with the weaker foot (-1 points with the dominant foot).
    • -2 points for a missed goal is shot higher than the crossbar with the weaker foot (-3 points with the dominant foot).
  • Shagging
    • When a shot misses a goal, players should always shag (or retrieve) their ball. When the player returns, he/she should go to the back of the line and not the earlier position in line.
    • If a player has kicked the ball over the crossbar twice, you now have a player to help clean up after practice.

I strongly suggest that coaches add cones to shooting exercises. The better the shots are placed in practice, the more goals your players will score in games.

Penalty Kicks Decide U20 World Cup

October 16, 2009

Congratulations Ghana! To beat powerhouse Brazil playing a majority of the game down 1 man … well deserved. With Ghana having qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, July 2010 can’t come soon enough for the entire African continent.

The game came down to penalties. Brazil had an opportunity to win but could not convert when it counted. The result of this game reinforces an earlier post about penalties. They have to be kicked on the ground, with decent force, and hit the side netting. Otherwise, a player and team is asking for trouble.

I have embedded a video clip below and below it, I have added my commentary along with the time the kicks appear in the video and a score for each kick. There is no video with all the kicks but the video I have shows all the misses.

Alan Kardec (Brazil)
Best Brazilian penalty in the shootout … hard, on the ground, and hit the side netting. The goalie guessed correctly but never could have saved the kick (Score–10).

Ayew (Ghana)
The kick was high. The Brazilian goalie guessed correctly and actually got his fingers on the ball. Because kicking the ball high into the net has the danger of going over, the score is lower (7).

Guiliano (Brazil)
Same comments as the previous kick (7).

Inkoom (Ghana)
The kick was once again high but had the goalie guessed correctly, the kick could not have been saved. (8).

D. Costa (Brazil)
Same comments as the previous kick (8).

4:40–Mensah (Ghana)
Terrible kick. It was 1 foot off the ground and worse, only 4 feet in from the center of the goal. My 94-year old grandmother would have saved that kick (1).

5:00–Souza (Brazil)
Just an average kick that was saved. Once again, it was 1 foot off the ground but not close enough to the side netting. The Ghanaian keeper started to employ a clever tactic because his team was down and he needed to make a save. Just before the kick, he took a big step to his right. By guessing correctly, he was able to make the easy save (4).

5:16–Addae (Ghana)
Another poor kick. It was slightly better than the previous Ghanaian kick because it was on the ground and a little further toward the corner. But there was not much force behind the kick. My 94-year old grandmother would have had trouble with this kick but my 10-year old would have saved it (3).

5:45–Maicon (Brazil)
This one was for the Championship but the Brazilian kicked it over the goal.  As I have posted before, you can’t kick the ball over the goal if the ball is kicked on the ground. I’m willing to bet that Maicon was worried that the goalkeeper was going to take that same big step before the kick and therefore felt it necessary to kick the ball higher. Once a player changes how he/she is going to take the penalty, the odds of a miss increase dramatically. In this case, had the penalty been a kick on the ground and into the side netting, Brazil would have been the Champs (3).

6:03–Adiyiah (Ghana)
With all the pressure on Adiyiah, he scores. The penalty was similar to Ghana’s first kick but because of the pressure, I’m giving it an extra point (8).

6:35–Teixeira (Brazil)
Brazil’s third miss in a row. The kick was about 2 feet off the ground and halfway between the center of the goal and the post. Once again the goalie took 1 big step in the correct direction and saved the penalty easily (3).

6:57–A. Badu (Ghana)
Badu saved the best Ghanaian penalty kick for last … low, hard, and in the corner. Even if the Brazilian keeper had guessed correctly, he never would have saved the kick (10).

Congratulations Ghana and Brazil for making it to the finals. See you in about 9 months.