Teach Your Players To ‘See The Hole’.
That’s an easy one to answer …..probably a zillion times! Same with passes on the field that seem to always find the feet of an opposing player, when the intended teammate is wide open.
Those lost opportunities often draw either a verbal or silent question from the coach…..”What were you thinking.”
Well, actually, the problem was that the player might have been thinking too much, or thinking about the wrong thing.
So focused on where an opponent is standing, either the goalkeeper in front of the goal, or a defender between the passer and the intended teammate, the player has seen the opposing player rather than the open space.
Actually, it may be in the way a person naturally sees things. You’ve all seen the funny drawings. At first glance you see one picture, but when you concentrate on the entire drawing you see something else.
You can encourage your players through concentration and repetitive training to see “the hole”, which is the space between opposing players, or between the goalkeeper and the goal posts.
Devise your own exercises to get your players to see the target (the space) rather than the obstacles (the opponents).
Get your players to understand that a pass played to an open teammate 20 yards away, which must go between two defenders standing 10 yards away and five yards apart needs to only be a firmly struck 10-yard pass through the hole. The pace of the pass will take care of the other 10 yards.
And those shots that hit the goalkeeper in the hands…. those are MISSES, the same as those shots that are often launched high over the cross bar.
Much is made, and well it should be, that players should frame the goal with their shots. If the shot is not “on goal” it has no chance to go in. However, without considering the goalkeeper, shots on frame but right into the goalkeeper’s hand means a sure goal has now become a goalkeeper save.
Think of the shot being a pass. Even those you rip with the instep. Teach your players to beat the goalkeeper with a pass. If they are going to miss the shot, encourage them, especially in the learning stages, to miss the shot wide of the goal. At least then the ball has a chance of getting through “the hole.”
Oh yes, we say “see the hole” which requires a player to lift his/her head. The player who always plays with his/her head down will not see that space. You see, it is all tied together. Observe, correct and enjoy!!