If someone takes a shot, follow it up. The play is not over when someone has taken a shot. All could still happen. If the keeper can’t hold on to the ball there’s a good chance you’ll score if you latch on to the rebound.
How many times have you heard this? It’s true though – keepers can’t save everything. Even some of the best goalies in the world aren’t going to be able to save ever-single shot. The likes of Brad Friedel, Edwin Van De Sar, Gianluigi Buffoon, Tim Howard or MLS’s Joe Cannon are going to bobble some shots or parry them to the opposing team from time to time. They can’t save ever-single shot. I added Joe Cannon into the group because he is the MLS’s best keeper – and deserves some more attention really.
By following up another player’s shot you can score a lot of goals on the cheap – blue light specials so to speak. But these goals aren’t discounted, they’re all worth the same, whether it’s a goal from twenty yards out or two yards away. That would change things quite a bit though wouldn’t it, if you got two points for a goal out side of the box. And I don’t think for the better, could you imagine a team down 2-0 and everyone hovering around the outside of the goal box trying to setup for a two point shot?
But back to reality and following up shots, if you’re a forward, think of goal poachers like Ruud Van Nistelrooy or Gary Lineker– strive to emulate these players. A lot of announcers talk about how Ruud hasn’t ever scored a goal from outside of the box. He does score a majority of his goals from close range but he can score from anywhere, as you can see from this volley, but what’s wrong with being an expert at close ranges goals and scoring from miscues and errors by the keeper or defenders. Gary Lineker is the epitome of a goal poacher; take a look at some of his highlight clips.
However, to score from a follow up, you’ll need to be proactive. You’ll have to be on your toes and make a habit out of following up all shots. As soon as a shot is taken, think about how you can get to the ball first and knock home the rebound. Be aware and ready to pounce on a keeper’s mistake, even the best keepers will make mistakes, so count on it.
Get Sneaky: Watch for defenders getting a bit lazy, look for when they’re about to play the ball back to the keeper and see if you can win the ball. If you can read this back pass and swoop in and win the ball, you’ve got an easy one on one with the keeper or even an open goal if the keeper is pulled out. Take some chances and anticipate a pass back to the keeper.
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