The power shot – How to shoot with power

by Pablo M05th Mar 2019

We see it all the time on the pitch, excellent dribblers but with a weak shoot. The best jugglers and dribblers are useless in a football team if they can’t shoot on goal. In this post, we delve into the art of shooting with power in football, exploring the key elements that contribute to a power shot.

The ability to strike the ball with immense force, accuracy, and precision is a coveted skill that can instantly turn the tide of a match. A power shot, often synonymous with awe-inspiring goals and legendary players, showcases the perfect combination of technique, strength, and determination.

A powerful shot is not about size or strength. It is about technique. Surely going to the gym and developing the right muscles helps, but you can be a small player and still kick the ball with power. Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos was known for his powerful kick. During a friendly match against France, he scored a free kick by shooting the ball at 137 kmph. Roberto Carlos is only 1.68 m tall.

Let’s look at the key elements that make a powerful shot.

Technique and Body Positioning

Executing a power shot starts with mastering the correct technique and body positioning. A solid foundation and balance are crucial, with the body weight adequately distributed over the plant foot. The non-shooting foot should be placed beside the ball, creating a stable platform for the shot. The striking leg is then drawn back, generating potential energy as it prepares to unleash the power. The knee is bent, and the toes are pointed downward, allowing optimal contact with the ball’s sweet spot.

Developing Leg Strength and Explosiveness

Players must develop leg strength and explosive power to generate a formidable power shot. Regular strength training exercises such as squats, lunges, and plyometrics can help build the muscle power required to strike the ball forcefully. Additionally, incorporating exercises that focus on the core muscles and hip rotation enhances the overall shot technique and helps generate greater power from the lower body. In addition to developing muscles for power, regular strength exercises will prevent injuries in your ACL and thigh muscles.

Timing and Approach

Timing and approach are paramount in executing a power shot. Players must be able to accurately judge the ball’s flight and position themselves optimally for the strike. Anticipation, quick decision-making, and a solid first touch are vital in setting up the shot. With the right timing, players can efficiently transfer energy from their body to the ball, maximizing the power behind the strike.

Ball Contact and Follow-through

The way the ball is struck and the follow-through are essential aspects of a powerful shot. The ideal contact point is slightly below the centre of the ball, ensuring a clean connection that minimizes spin and maximizes power. Striking through the ball with the laces or instep while maintaining a locked ankle adds to the velocity of the shot. Furthermore, a complete follow-through with the striking leg extending forward helps direct the shot accurately and adds extra power.

Mental Focus and Confidence

While technique and physicality are crucial in executing a power shot, mental focus and confidence are equally important. A player must believe in their ability to strike the ball with power and accuracy. Developing mental resilience, staying calm under pressure, and visualizing successful shots can enhance the execution of a power shot during critical moments in a match. Don’t be afraid of shooting from a long distance. It is preferable to miss than to lose the ball trying to dribble through the defence. 

Adjusting to Game Situations

Adapting the power shot to various game situations is crucial for success on the field. Players must learn to recognize when a power shot is the right approach, such as when shooting from long range or when faced with a crowded defence. However, there will be instances where a finesse shot or a well-placed finish might be more effective. Understanding when to employ each technique adds versatility to a player’s arsenal and increases their overall effectiveness in front of the goal.

Breaking down the power shot technique

All the previous concepts can be summarized in these simple steps to execute a powerful shot:

  • The run-up is what generates most of the power, but if you are not running before shooting (e.g.: executing a free kick), take at least five long strides before hitting the ball.
  • Plant your standing foot right beside the ball, with your toe pointing exactly where you want the ball to go.
  • Bend your standing knee slightly and extend your arms to maintain balance.
  • Position your kicking knee right on top of the ball.
  • Lean your body forward for a straight shoot. Lean your body slightly backward to lift the ball a little.
  • Hit the ball with the laces of your boot. There are other ways of hitting the ball, but they focus on accuracy rather than power.
  • Hit the centre of the ball. If you hit it low, it will lift. If you hit it on one of the sides, it will move forward, spinning to one of the sides.
  • Follow through the kick so your foot keeps in contact as much as possible with the ball.

The video below illustrates the concepts we explored. In the video, Michael Cunningham demonstrates how to shoot with power. 

For more posts on how to shoot with power, visit our shooting category