Working with a player last evening on goal kicks got me to thinking. Many of the players I have worked with over the years become frustrated quickly when they can’t get their goal kick higher and longer after practicing it. From what I have seen though, their frustration is on a hair-trigger. They want immediate results after two or three balls. The best advice I can give is kick lots of balls! Don’t just hit 2 balls each time….hit 222 and concentrate on the fundamental form! (ok, so 222 is a bit much, but you get my point, right??)
What’s the fundamental form? Several things to keep in mind: First, you need to master the 4 step drop. The four step drop is two giant steps back, two steps over. You don’t need to start in the parking lot and take a HUGE run up to the ball, nor do you have to try and KILL the ball. It’s all about making contact on the proper surface with the proper part of your foot.
Next, set a pattern and follow it EVERY TIME. Every college and pro place kicker follows the same routine EVERY time they kick a ball. GK’s need to do this as well.
Third, your plant foot is for balance and should be located slightly behind the ball. Too far forward keeps it low (a shooter wants a low, hard, driven shot. They want to keep their weight over the ball) NOT the GK. The GK should be behind the ball and shooting for loft. Too far behind the ball though and you’ll toe poke it or pop it up.
Forth, make sure you follow through. Don’t stop your forward momentum and swing your leg. Use your forward momentum to your advantage and strike through the ball.
Fifth, practice into a net and PICK A SPOT. Don’t just run up and kick it without envisioning where you want it to go. It’s even a good idea if you have someone to target. Place the ball at about the 8 yard line and aim for OVER the crossbar to focus on getting the ball up and over the first line of defense.
Lastly, practice, practice, practice. Did I mention practice? You’ll never improve if you only take goal kicks during match time. Devote 5-10 minutes each practice to just taking kicks. If you have another GK to work with you both can practice the kick and the catch of lofted balls at the same time. BONUS!! These techniques are practiced in our goalkeeper training in VA as well at our summer goalkeeper identification camps. You can increase your distance if you work at it!