Scoring Goals Requires Having An Attitude.

OK coach, describe for me what makes a great goalscorer. Big, fast with a wicked shot! Small, quick, with a knack of getting on the end of balls in front of the goal! Intelligent, calm under pressure with great vision! Strong, ability to shed defenders, and consistently put the ball on goal out of the reach of the opposing goalkeeper!

Well, if that guy is out there give me a call. Bruce Arena could use him on the national team. If you find a girl with all of those qualities, I am sure April Heinrichs would like to know her phone number.

Chances are, if you are fortunate, you will find players who have many of those characteristics. Good goalscorers come in all shapes and sizes with varied degrees of natural abilities, but the one thing they must have in order to be great is “attitude.”

Scoring goals is the most difficult thing in soccer. That’s why they are such a celebration. Creating the opportunities throughout the game is actually more of the game’s fabric than the actual goal itself. Those who don’t understand or appreciate this are often frustrated with one-goal games. A scoreless draw, even with a number of spectacular opportunities, is a reason for the unappreciative eye to not watch another soccer game.

Goals don’t happen, and the ball seldom just falls at your feet in front of an open goal. You have to want to score. You have to have the drive to put the ball in the back of the net, and the willingness to work to make that happen. Goals don’t have to be pretty or spectacular. They all count “one.”

There will be players on your team who appear to have all the necessary physical tools to be an effective striker, but they never score. Look at the shot chart, and you will find that they seldom even shoot. There will be others who shoot a lot, but often their shots land in the adjacent zip code.

Those players may have great potential, but it is your job, as the coach, to find a better spot on the field where their talents can be developed.

You will find that it is almost impossible to “coach attitude into a player”, but it is a magic moment to coach a player who already has “attitude.”

Make the exercises competitive, and count the goals! That’s what happens in a game, and the goalscorer likes to count the goals. Make it a challenge, because scoring goals is difficult and in the game it becomes the ultimate challenge.

Here’s hoping you have that player “with attitude” already on your team, and by the way…..Happy New Year! (January 15 , 2005)

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