Updated: Jul 16
Goalkeeper De Gea drives through the ball, targeting attacking midfielder Fernandez who is just inside his own half, right of centre. The central defenders have split, one (No 16) running to tackle Fernandez as he receives. Read the play now! Acres of space in the centre of their defence if Fernandez can flick on. Watch for offside. Run along the defensive line behind No16 and have momentum if the ball comes. Give Fernandez a shout. Boom! He’s dummied a flick on. Perfect! The ball’s flown past the defender and into the space behind their defence.
Now its all about speed. Get onto the ball fast. Defenders from left and right will close in the angles. Sprint into their half. Just outside the centre D, take a quick look up. The Goalkeeper is outside his box. Choices: push the ball forward into the space and run at pace directly at the goal or chip him. Chip him is tough from this far out. Will need calibrated technique and pace. Will need precision. Decision made! chip it is.
The ball is rolling forward fast, so place left standing foot ahead of it. Connect with the right foot laces, but with the heel low, to wedge under the ball. No follow through, a short smooth stab action. Need enough power to use the momentum of the already forward moving ball. Not too much, not too little. Visualise the ball gliding over the Goalkeeper. Execute!
Away the ball goes: sailing, sailing, onwards and over the outstretched fingers of the retreating goalkeepers attempt to flick it over the bar, rustling high in the net. Old Trafford’s 1st crowd since lockdown are there to witness a majestic goal, a finish of such high class.
Chipping a ball is one of the hardest skills for young players to master I have found in over 20 years of coaching. It tends to be the lowest scoring skill in my Academy reviews and that’s with their best foot!
As a kid, my friends and I mastered the skills playing on the streets and parks with a game called ‘headers and volleys’. In this game, you would have a goalkeeper and at least two players, who would have to chip the ball to each other to score with a header or volley. It was fun and naturally taught you the technique with zero coaching.
Cavani in this example, shows absolute mastery in his technique. To chip a ball that is moving away from you is the hardest form of the skill, as you need to try and generate a back spin that will punch the ball up high fast, whilst also bringing the ball down quickly.
For young players, try to copy this goal against a wall or with a friend in Goal. Have the ball running away from you and pay attention to the standing foot position and the short, wedged foot action under the ball.
The use of video with a Coach review is fantastic in honing skill and performance.
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