Robert Lewandowski used the full arsenal of striker techniques to score five goals in nine minutes last week. How to teach the techniques he used is the first of our new series of coaching advice provided by Yuri Bogdanov, founder of ClubSportal, a Northern Virginia-based company that provides an impressive web-based platform used by clubs to manage consistency and continuity of training, player development, monitoring and progression.
Watch the highlight reel here, then watch it again pausing for each goal as you read Bogdanov’s analysis. Then check out his recommended training session to help your players learn the finishing techniques used.
He created a proper angle of support; held his run; received the ball across the body, realizing the position of the goalkeeper and finished simply re-directing the ball with accuracy for one-touch finish with the left foot.
He let the ball travel past the body and adjusted his position appropriately for a snap shot from distance. Focus was on the ball when striking it with the right foot with impressive ability to execute a perfect technique, keeping the ball on the ground. This was a two-touch finish.
He makes a supporting run; staying onside to beat an offside line; shows excellent coordination and follow-up with second and third attempts making strong strikes on the ball with both feet from both the ground and on the volley following deflections, ultimately ending with a one-touch finish from five total touches.
He recognizes and finds an open space in the penalty box as teammate Douglas Costa drives the end line for a cross; loses his defender; chooses the technique of a side-volley, striking on top of the ball with accuracy and power after allowing it to travel across his body for another one-touch finish.
He recognizes space while anticipating another service; loses a defender again in the box; shows excellent coordination in finishing with a laced, right-footed volley while falling away from the ball to keep the strike under the crossbar.
Three of five goals scored with one touch.
Four of five goals scored from the cross.
In all goals scored, the key components of Lewandowski’s success are timing, a minimum number of touches, body shape and game awareness.
Statistics show that over 80% of goals are scored with two touches or less. The ability to adjust body position and create that ‘perfect’ opportunity with just one or two touches is therefore a big key to any striker’s success. In other words, for forwards in the penalty box – the ‘first touch’ is quite often their ‘last touch’, and whether or not the ball goes in the net or not has everything to do with their technical ability to execute a proper split-second decision.
To help young players improve their own finishing, coaches should teach strikers to prepare their BRAINS first, which will prepare the BODY SHAPE for a one-touch chance to score. Constantly reminding players to do this even when there is time for more than one touch will help train the brain and create the instinct to change movement in the penalty box to create scoring opportunities where others may not and with fewer defenders able to anticipate.
As seen in the video, Lewandowski uses different turns, he holds his runs to receive the ball, and he sometimes moves away from the ball so he can finish with the first touch. The training activity recommended below allows your players to work on techniques Lewandowski used to score these goals. It is a small sided game that you can finish your training session with when working on Strikers’ Functional Training or Finishing/Crossing Techniques.
This activity encourages passes to wide channels and players to use a variety of crosses and movement. I works on Striker Specific Training allowing forwards to finish on-goal first-touch.
The aim is to play the ball from the middle zone to the winger into the channel, who can then cross the ball unchallenged. The Striker is unchallenged in the penalty box, but must attempt to finish with their first touch.
- Two channels down the wings
- 2 Goalkeepers
- 3v3 in the Middle Zone with an opportunity to play the ball wide to the Channel
- 2 Wingers for each team
A Goalkeeper saving the shot plays the ball immediately into the middle zone (or coach immediately plays the ball in the middle zone if the ball went out of bounds). Players are to combine passes in the middle zone before playing the ball to the outside channel. Both teams can still play normally to create a realistic feel and encourage players to make good decisions when playing it out wide. Combinations in the middle zone are required.
- Create 2v1 (add a defender) in the penalty box to challenge the finishing
- Limit number of touches for the cross
- Allow one of the players in the middle zone to follow the attack and finish from the cross
- Focus on the Striker Finishing Technique
- Movements of striker
- Timing of the Strikers runs
- Adjusting your body (striker) to finish first touch
- Finishing Communication Movement without the ball Crossing
- Transition from defense to attack and attack to defense
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