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Many soccer players feel they cannot take a shot until they have either completely faked-out a defender, or until they have come the door-step of the net. What’s important to remember is that the more shots you take in a game, the higher the potential for a goal is to be scored. However, it is important to take educated shots.

Finding the right balance of when to shoot and when not to shoot is difficult. One thing that I want you to remember today is that you do not need to be wide-open to take a shot. All you need is a one step separation. That’s it, just one step.

Whether you are sprinting at a defender or at a stand still, try to make a move where you push the ball to one direction and shoot right away. When you make a quick move in one direction or another, it usually takes a defender 1-2 steps to fully recover and gain their footing back…if he/she recovers at all. In that time a defender is recovering, this is perfect time for you to shoot.

There are two types of chances that are created here:

1. The defender will no react fast enough and you will have a split second for a free shot on net. Again, all you need is a slight opening to get a shot off. Watch here as Croatia’s Niko Kranjcar shows exactly what I’m referring to. He receives a ball, pulls it in another direction to create just enough space to get a shot off and scores. Although the defender was right in front of him, he made enough separation. This is what they call a professional goal:

2. The defender will react in time, but a defenders natural reaction when a shot is being taken is to stick their leg out. When they stick their leg out, shoot it between their legs. Although it sounds difficult, it can be easily pulled off if timed correctly. Watch here as another Croatian soccer player, Davor Suker, pulls this off masterfully. Even though a player is right in his face, he understands that the defender will reach for the ball…

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