Shooting (association football)

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Niclas Jensen shoots for goal in a match for F.C. Copenhagen against FC Vestsjælland.

In association football, shooting is hitting the ball in an attempt to score a goal. It is usually done using the feet or head.[1] A shot on target or shot on goal is a shot that enters the goal or would have entered the goal if it had not been blocked by the goalkeeper or another defensive player.[2]

Types of shots[edit]

Depending on the part of the body used[3][edit]

  • Standard shot: To perform a standard shot, the player goes to the ball at a slight angle and kicks the ball with the area around the knuckle of the big toe.
  • Straight shot / Instep drive: To do a straight kick, player comes at the ball straight then kicks it with the laces of his foot (ankle is locked). The straight shot is easier to keep low than standard shot since it’s hard to follow through with the kicking leg high in the air. The shot is powerful but less accurate.[1]
  • Inside foot shot: To perform an inside shot, the player moves their hip outside and then kicks the ball with the middle of the inside of the foot for a curve effect.
  • Outside foot shot / trivela: To do an outside foot shot, the ball is hit with the outside three toes of the foot to get a curve effect. Ricardo Quaresma has used this type of shot on many occasions.[4]
  • Toe shot / Toe punt: To do a toe shot, the player sticks his leg forwards and kicks the ball with his toe. Leg is not moved back to build momentum like when performing every other type of soccer shot. Used with less frequency, and also known as the "toe poke", it is a quick strike which requires little motion, and is often utilized to fool or surprise opponents who would normally not expect this type of shot, such as when Ronaldo used it to score Brazil's decisive goal in the semi-final of the 2002 World Cup against Turkey.[5][6][7]
  • Header: the player hits the ball with their head. This is sometimes necessary when the ball is too high to control with the feet or chest.

Players also sometimes use the chest or the back to pass the ball at a teammate or as part of a dribbling motion. Examples are Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo.[8][9][10]

Depending on the ball movement[11][edit]

Cristiano Ronaldo taking a free kick. He usually uses the knuckleball technique.

These types of shots are usually used most in free kicks, corner kicks and shots on goal.

  • Bending shot / Swerve shot / Curl: Sometimes called curve. Any part of the foot can be used to do a bending shot, but using the inside or outside parts produce the most bend. To do a bending shot,the player kicks the sides of the ball at an angle. If he uses the inside of the foot, he wraps his leg around the ball and follows through to the outside of his body. If he is using the area around the knuckle of his big toe or the outside of the foot he follows through across his body. Is usually but not exclusively used in free kicks. The ball bends or swerves in such a way that it beats the keeper; the only drawback is that it lacks great power.[1]
  • Straight curl (Dip or Dipping shot): The topspin technique of putting straight curl on a ball is known as a dip.
  • Knuckleball: A shot that has no or very little spin and has erratic movement. The shot is generally taken from distance to give the ball time to show this effect, and works best when the ball is still. Didi, Juninho Pernambucano, Roberto Carlos, Andrea Pirlo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are known for using this technique.[12]
  • Driven shot / Power shot (can be High or Low): A powerful shot that usually goes straight and has a direct trajectory.
  • Deadball: Not a special type of shot but a result of different shots. It is reflected in a sudden drop or dip of the ball. It can be a result of a knuckleball shot or a straight curl. In the case of the latter it is called top spin deadball or dipping deadball. Not every knuckleball shot is a deadball.

Special (Trick) shots[edit]

Ricardo Quaresma of Portugal performing a bicycle kick.
  • Volley / Half volley / Donkey kick: When the heel is used to volley the ball over the player's head (from back to front).
  • Bicycle kick / Scissors kick / Overhead kick: An acrobatic strike where a player kicks a ball in midair with the instep. It is achieved by throwing the body backward up into the air and, before descending to the ground, making a scissor movement with the legs to get the ball-striking leg in front of the other.
  • Rabona: The kicking leg is wrapped behind the standing leg to kick the ball. The legs end up crossed as the ball is kicked.
  • Scorpion kick / Reverse bicycle kick: The ball is kicked with the back or heel of the lower body while jumping in midair to hit the ball forward. Colombian goalkeeper René Higuita did this move against England.
  • Rainbow kick / Lambreta / Coup du Sombrero : Most usually used as a dribbling move, but it can be used to pass the ball a very short distance.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The Soccer Shooting Guide". Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  2. ^ "Shot on goal". Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  3. ^ "7 Types of Soccer Shots". Complete Soccer Guide. May 25, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  4. ^ "Video: 'Number One' Quaresma drives fans wild with trivela wondergoal for Portugal vs Iran". June 25, 2018. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  5. ^ Hargreaves, Alan (1990). Skills and strategies for coaching soccer. Champaign, Ill.: Leisure Press. pp. 153. ISBN 0880113286.
  6. ^ "In praise of the toe-poke". FIFA. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  7. ^ Ivan Bobanovic (23 April 2010). "I thought the toe-punt was a bad thing?". Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Cristiano Ronaldo Passes with His Back". Soccer Training Info. June 26, 2019.
  9. ^ "Using Your Shoulder in Soccer: Is It Allowed?". Your Soccer Home. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  10. ^ "Have You Ever Seen Ronaldinho's Epic Back Pass?". The18. 13 July 2006. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  11. ^ "Soccer Shooting, Techniques and Examples". Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  12. ^ Gerna, Jacopo (11 November 2013). "Juventus: Pirlo, ma che punizione hai tirato? La maledetta che sfida la fisica". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  13. ^ "8 of the Best Ever Backheel Goals in Football History - Ranked". 2019-12-08. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  14. ^ Joel del Río (22 February 2017). "The art of the chip: Falcao matches Totti, Messi and Raul". Marca. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  15. ^ Dave Taylor (5 May 2014). "Baggio's month of May". Football Italia. Retrieved 11 April 2017.