The instep shot is often referred to as the “driven” shot because of its power, or the “laces” shot because the ball is struck with the laces part of the soccer shoe.
The instep shot is the most powerful shot of all (except possibly for a sweetly smashed volley) and often it is overused with the striker favoring power over accuracy. Teenage players and college players like to use the instep shot more than they should because of all of the testosterone coursing through their body. Often they blow a chance to score a goal by smashing the ball at the goal when a more level headed, mature, experienced player would go more for accuracy as opposed to power and score more goals as a result.
Here are the Key Factors for the Instep Shot:
- Angle Of Approach. It is very important to approach the ball at the correct angle in relation to where you want to place the shot. The ideal angle of approach is 45 degrees. Practice how this looks by placing the ball on the ground and then use two cones to make a right angle (90 degrees.) Split that angle in half and then approach the ball along that line, thus ensuring you approach the ball at 45 degrees. Set this up on the training pitch and practice it so that you become familiar with how it looks. Once you have figured out the correct angle, it is so important that you do the necessary work to create that angle before you attempt your shot. Laziness and lack of attention to the angle of approach will significantly reduce your success.
- Placement of Standing foot. The guideline here is to place the standing foot 6-9” from the ball, alongside the ball, with the big toe of the standing foot aiming at the desired part of the goal for the shot. Carry all of your weight on the standing foot.
- Pull back the striking foot as far back as you can, almost touching your butt. At the top of the backswing, lock the foot in place with the toes pointing straight down at the ground. By locking the foot in this position this ensures that you will strike the ball correctly and it also helps increase the power of the shot.
- Swing the striking leg towards the ball aiming to strike through the center of the ball with the the laces part of your boot.
- Follow through the ball keeping all of the weight on the standing foot. Many players make the mistake of having their weight on their striking foot and then stepping through the ball and placing the striking foot on the ground. Practice striking the ball and continuing with a good follow through.
In order to add more power to the instep shot, as you strike the ball transfer all of your weight into the striking foot. As a result of this, once you have struck the ball and followed through you will actually end up leaving the ground! That proves that all of your power went through the striking foot and through the ball.
As always, with all the different kinds of shots, don’t wait to admire your shot, be instantly ready to react to a rebound. Many times the striker places a pretty good shot, but the goalkeeper fumbles it, or it rebounds off the post and be ready to tap in the rebound. There’s nothing worse than seeing your shot rebound and you not being ready. As my dad always said, “Follow up on all your shots.”