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Resources Aug 28, 2012

OMG! What a basketball-shot header by Brandon McDonald

This special edition of OMG! What a Goal! looks at D.C. United’s perfectly placed “basketball shot” of a goal last week by defender Brandon McDonald in D.C.’s convincing win over Chicago. It’s the kind of goal main stream sports shows almost never carry in their highlights because it’s not spectacular to the average fan. But for those who have played the game, goals like this are simply jaw-dropping, and from a coaching perspective, worthy of much more praise than a 30-yard blast that actually requires far less skill.

While a 30-yard blast that dips and swerves into the net is impressive to watch, the difficulty all lies simply in making great contact while aiming at the goalkeeper’s feet and hoping you miss (or they move out of the way). Much harder many times is scoring a goal with your head off a driven cross when pinpoint accuracy is needed. Usually, it’s just “get it on frame”, sometimes coached by telling players to “aim” for the goal line and back towards they way it came to allow for the most margin of error. But to purposefully place a header left, right, up or down requires incredible skill.

Another one of the hardest ways to score a goal is not only to “aim” it precisely left, right, up or down; but to purposefully kill power and control the weight of the shot so the ball can rise over other players, but still drop down in time to get under the cross bar – like a basketball shot needing to get above the rim, then drop down through it – only in soccer, you’re allowed to block the shot on the way down!

A “chip” shot would qualify there, but to do it on a full volley off a driven cross takes an extra level of refined skill that only comes from 10’s of thousands of repetitions in training and years of experience executing in real game situations.

SO, what’s harder than than those two types of goals – the aimed header and the weighted “looper”?

Simple, just combine the two into a masterpiece of skill and decision making; taking a driven cross out of the air with your head, and adding the subtly of weighting the attempt so it climbs, then falls right into the only spot on the 192 square foot of space the ball has any chance… Think “heading it into a basketball hoop”.

Enjoy. And as always, PLEASE kids, try this at home!

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