Coaches, fans, parents, players, referees, staff......
The title seems a “play” on words but...........it’s not !!!
I was checking some statistics of the Premiere League and I was shocked to read that a top Club (there is no need to name it !!!), not only didn’t score a goal for 2 games, which of course could happen in a very competitive context, but didn’t even have a shot on target for two games !!!!
This fact, is really too much to accept at a professional level.
But, not having a shot on target for two games while having shot many times, as a coach, I can say that probably it’s connected to a lack of shooting technique !!!!
I want to give you an example from another sport: Basketball.
In soccer/football, a goal sometimes could mean the difference between winning or losing. But in basketball, the 2 teams score dozens and dozens of baskets with scores often above 100 points so, it seems that missing 1 basket is not so bad as missing a sure goal in soccer/football.
This is true only........................ apparently. It’s O.K. to miss a basket if the score is 90 to 56, or 120 to 85, but if the score is 90 to 89 at 10 seconds to the end, to miss a basket could be catastrophic !!!! You could also lose the Championship by doing that !!!
So, in the economy of the games, to score or miss acrobatic basketballs is very spectacular but, during the games, there is another situation in which to score would be more easy, almost mandatory.
Those situations are........ free-throws !!!
At a super professional NBA level, to shot a free throw (without any opposition), not far away from the basket and without jumping, is suppose to be easy to put the ball in the basket. 15 or 20 free throws could represent 15 or 20 points so, by missing some of them in a game that is 89-88 a few seconds to the end, it means that a team lost a game not for the last basket that could be missed under the great tension of the last few seconds. The game could be lost because the team missed 5 or 6 free throws during the game, even in the first quarter !!!! In the end, it is those 5 or 6 points lost that makes the team lose the game by 1 point, not the last basket missed !!!
Considering this, I remember that a few years ago, the Sacramento Kings decided to have all their basketball players greatly improve their percentage of successful free throws so, they did the most simple thing: they haired a specialized coach for specifically going back to the fundamentals of the shooting technique of a free throw !!!!
All the players went back to learning what they should have learned when they were kids which is.........
PRACTICE ON FUNDAMENTALS !!!!!
But doing that properly, under supervision and following instructions !!!! Not just shooting over and over at the basket.........whatever !!!
After just 1 month of this specific training on fundamentals, in the following few games the Kings scored 50 free throws..........CONSECUTIVELY, before missing the first one !!!!
The percentage of games won went up enormously !!!
Going back to soccer/football, in my opinion, after having seen 10/12 games every week for many years (Champions league - Premier League - La Liga - Serie A etc. etc.), there are too many goals that are missed because the players, even the top ones, often don’t apply the correct shooting technique.
I can continue forever by pointing out other basic mistakes but I think that I made my point.
And it makes me very sad to listen to game commentators, that often are ex-professional players, when the above happens say that the shot was........”ambitious”. It wasn’t “ambitious”. It was DEEPLY WRONG !!!! But because they did that for all of their careers, they will never say that the shooting technique was deeply wrong. The shot was..............”ambitious” !!!!
So, even at a professional level, players don’t practice enough in basic fundamental aspects. Of course, I’ve seen them shoot over an over during practices, but I don’t see them work more specifically in what should be done in order to shoot properly.
This activity, is much more specific and takes specialized coaches that work specifically on these aspects, by going through fixed “frozen” positions that we have to assume while going to execute the motion of a perfect shot.
In conclusion, as the NBA’s Kings basketball players that enormously improved their “fundamental basic free throw shooting technique” I think that soccer/football players, at any age, should dedicate much more time in developing the correct shooting technique, which is not keep shooting for hours by doing over and over the wrong things !!!
This will only make bad habits become............PERMANENT!!!!!!! And to correct that, will take much more time.
And, if these bad habits could be “excusable” at 10 years old, they should be UNACCEPTABLE from professional players who put in their pockets more than 200 thousand $$$$$$$$ a week and miss the frame from 18 yards away ( or much less !!!!) while not having an opponent that pressures them !!!
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