19/09/2021

What a curler!

That’s the beauty of the round ball game… if you get your angles right and wait for the ball to come to you (rather than rushing it!) you can work magic.

Three things to learn from this goal… watch this video a few times to take note of where the scorer is standing. Well positioned and alert – well played, sir – but the lesson is that any player in any position is potentially three seconds away from making a major contribution to a match (either positively or negatively), so it’s important to keep yourself ready for action and not drift mentally too much.

Secondly, being aware of the way the ball is moving and any spin it has on it, as well as where you aim to hit it, can turn a no-goal situation into a piece of pure magic like this. The midfielder had no sight on goal but he knew where it was and he knew what he wanted to do with the ball. It wasn’t a “hit and hope” or “calling or pockets” attempt at goal… it was a calculated effort. To be fair, he no doubt wasn’t expecting it to slam into the back of the net, because the odds were so high against him, but he lined it up executed the best attempt he could manage.

If he tried to repeat that kick with a stationery ball he would struggle to pull it off one our of 10 times as the angles were so tight, so a bouncing and spinning ball just adds to that difficulty. Where he probably gave himself the best chance of success was by not worrying about the goalkeeper and the defenders… he plotted a path that he thought would possibly sneak past all of them BUT, most importantly, instead of blasting it (and therefore possibly slamming it high over the crossbar) he focussed on timing his shot and (vital…) HITTING THE TARGET!

You can be Hot Shot Hamish and have a shot that will break the net… but if it’s off-target it will do nothing for you. Keep your shot on target and it puts the pressure on the keeper and defenders to stop it. And we’ve seen plenty of times when a soft shot beats them all. So when in doubt, dial back the power and focus on hitting your target.

Finally, work on developing that split second of patience so that you don’t rush your shot, especially when it’s bouncing or spinning on the way to you. Allow it to come onto your boot and then you do a short, sharp “punch-jab” with your foot. Trying to hurry it will mess with your ability to get the timing and angles just right!

Magnificent goal.

Side note – almost impossible for the keeper…. but it’s good to get into the habit of diving early just in case. These are split seconds and if you are just that moment too late to move then you’re toast, and it’s hard to blame a keeper in such instances… but work on your instinct to dive in these moments and it might just give you the match-winning edge.

One last time… what an incredible football moment. This is what we all live for in sport.

Screengrab: Instagram/HouseofHighlights

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