There are so many skills in soccer that require practice, but perhaps the most prominent and prolific is shooting. While it can be often be over-emphasized on a soccer team, the value of having proficient and clinical goal scorers on a soccer team is unparalleled.
Shooting drills for both individual soccer players and soccer teams are vital to scoring goals in games. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of shooting drills for soccer.
Shooting Drills for Soccer Players and Teams
In order to make this tutorial more organized, we’ve broken our drills into several categories:
Individual Soccer Shooting Drills
Team exercises for shooting are great because you can simulate game situations, and perform more robust drills. However, there is limited amount of time in a team practice, and only so much can be accomplished.
Individual shooting practice, though, can be done on your own time. You can go at your own pace, practicing the drills without having to feel any social pressures of success. You can also slow the process down, ensuring that you carefully and meticulously refine skill sets.
Beginner Individual Shooting Drills: Ages 4-6 (U4-U6)
“Shooting Frenzy”: Works on shooting and letting kids get in their “kicks”!
Setup: Set three to five balls in front of a small goal in a line. When you say “go”, the child runs to each ball individually and kicks or dribbles it in the net. Once they’ve gone through five times, you can switch feet.
This helps to encourage little children what to do when they see the soccer ball on the field, while also working on their kicking abilities. In the process, they have a target and are working on their shooting skills.
Beginner Individual Shooting Drills: Ages 7-11 (U7-U11)
“Move and Shoot”: Works on the various techniques used in shooting.
Setup: Have the players line up right outside the 18 yard box, with just you inside. Each player should have access to a ball.
One by one, have the players pass you a good soccer ball for practice. Then, pass it back to them and they will take a touch. After their touch, they should shoot towards the goal.
This drill can be done with just one person, or many on the field at once. You can also add a goalkeeper to the drill, which makes the shooting more fun but also more difficult.
Beginner Individual Shooting Drills: Ages 12+ (U12+)
“Turn and Shoot”: Works on turning and shooting quickly and on various turns.
Setup: Have the players line up behind or beside you with their back towards goal. Feed them the ball, and have them take 1-2 touches while turning and squaring towards goal, with the final act to be a shot.
After teaching them various turns and techniques, you can add complexity by telling them which specific turn or technique to use, or allow them to choose freely. You can also add difficulty by dictating the number of touches they get before they hit it to goal.
Play the ball in, they will turn and head to goal. Either have a goalkeeper or have targets in goal.
“Penalty Practice”: Works on shooting penalties.
Setup: Find the penalty mark or make one yourself with a cone. The penalty spot from mid-goal line is 12 yards (36 feet) out from the goal line but in this age group it is usually 8-10 yards.
Have your players practice shooting penalty kicks (PKs). You can also add two cones, placing them one-two feet away from the posts so that they have a target area to aim for.
While penalty kicks rarely happen in a game, practicing helps to teach good shooting technique from a reasonable distance away from goal.
“Through Ball Shooting”: Works on running on to a through ball and finishing.
Setup: You will be positioned at the top of the 18 yard box, with the individual player lined up 10-15 feet further outside of the box.
Pass the ball through into open space, either to the side of you at the edge of box, or even further in (closer to the goal).
You can add complexity to this drill by introducing a goal keeper or a defender. Making the player take the shot with their first touch is also a good addition.
Team Soccer Shooting Drills
There is only so far an individual can get practicing on their own, and team shooting drills can mimic game time situations a lot better. In addition, team drills in planned out positions can bring together several skill sets into one drill, allowing players to work on multiple facets at once.
Beginner Team Shooting Drills: Ages 7-11 (U7-U11)
“Team Trains Keeper (Part One)”: Works on shooting and goalkeeper training.
Setup: Set your team around the outer edge of the 18-yard box in a huge arc. Have the team shoot at the goal from various angles while the keeper has to block the shots. Make sure the goalkeeper is wearing proper safety equipment such as gloves.
Many teams use this as routine part of their warm ups for practice and in preparation for games. You can utilize this drill well past age 11.
Beginner Team Shooting Drills: Ages 12+ (U12+)
“Chip and Finish”: Work on trapping, shooting, and chipping.
Setup: Divide the team into four groups, one on each post. Opposing groups facing one another should have the balls. For example, the group on the right side of the goal should have balls with them. The group diagonally from them at the other goal should NOT have balls.
One player will play the ball diagonally to their teammate. The receiving player will then emerge from the post, trap the ball and shoot at the goal. The target goal will be where the pass originally came from.
After they shoot, they go to the passing line. You can also play the ball in the air as a progression. Count the number of goals for competition and switch sides.
Intermediate Team Shooting Drills: Ages 7-11 (U7-U11)
“Shooter Becomes Keeper”: Works on shooting and is fun.
Setup: Start with the regular goalkeeper in goal and the players in a line about 20 yards out just outside the 18-yard box. Each player has one chance of taking a touch and shooting.
If the player misses, they become the keeper and the prior keeper runs to the end of the line. If they make the shot, the prior keeper runs to the end of the line. The next player in line has to sprint to become keeper before the following player takes a shot.
Intermediate Team Shooting Drills: Ages 12+ (U12+)
“Team Trains Keeper Part Two”: Works on shooting, crossing, and goalkeeper training.
Setup: Set your team around the outer edge of the 18-yard box in a huge arc, each player should have a ball. Two players will be set apart from the group. The remaining balls will be at the center of the top of the box with them. Also, have four players in the middle, two on each team.
One by one, have the players in the arc cross the ball in to the players into the box. They will compete against one another to score. Once a ball is scored or goes out, then you yell “Shot”. One of the two designated players at the center of the top of the box will take a touch and shoot at goal.
Advanced Team Shooting Drills: Ages 12+ (U12+)
“1v1 to Goal”: Works on 1v1 situations directly to goal and conditioning.
Setup: Using a goalkeeper in goal, divide the team into two groups, placing each of them on opposite sides of the goal on the posts and keep them off the field. Set two cones in front of each line about 20 yards away.
Each player begins starting with a hand on the post. The coach plays the ball in from the side and the players have to run around their cone and meet in the middle, playing 1v1 to goal.
It is usually easier to designate one of the lines as the “striker” and the other line as the “defender” equipped with the appropriate soccer cleats.
Keeping it Simple
While there are a lot of fancy drills that help improve shooting skills for a forward and midfielder position, there are also so many drills that don’t take any other people or equipment. We’ll outline perhaps the most basic of soccer shooting drills:
While it isn’t fancy, this simple soccer shooting drill is incredibly easy to implement right now.
Wrapping it Up
It doesn’t matter how good you are or how long you’ve been playing for. You can always improve your skills—especially shooting. As one of the most important skills in a player’s bank (you can’t score if you don’t shoot), you’ll need to be the best shooter you can be.