How to Beat a Goalie One on One

A chance well taken - (Photo:

The brilliant pass has sprung you into action.  Free and clear, racing down the middle of the field, you have a golden opportunity to score a goal.  You look up and see that you just have to beat the keeper.  You only have a few seconds to make your move and take your chance, what do you do?

The open breakaway is the opportunity that most soccer players live for. It is the chance to have a free run at the goal and beat your goalie.  In truth, a great striker should score all of these opportunities, but sadly enough, many chances like this often go wasted.  A talented goalie will make scoring from any opportunity very difficult, so how should you proceed.

Play to your strengths.  If you put great power behind your shots, going for an early strike may catch the goalie off-guard. If you are exceptionally quick, perhaps you will want to lure the goalie out of his or her net and dribble around them before cautiously placing the ball into the goal.  Whatever works best for you is how you should approach these chances.

Don’t think about the goalie.  Don’t look them in the eyes.  Goalies try to be big in these situations to intimidate their opposition and force a rash decision.  Don’t squander your goal-scoring opportunity.  But when is the best moment to shoot?

This is a tough question to answer because it depends on several factors including what angle you are approaching the goal from, how much time you have, and how the goalie is prepping for the shot.

For me, you shouldn’t shoot until the goalie advances from their goal.  If a goalie stays on their line, you will have the easiest shot ever and can shoot from the six-yard box.  If you miss….shame on you!  But usually, a decent goalkeeper will begin coming out when you reach the 18-yard box.  This will shrink the goal for you and add some pressure.

For me, the best time to strike is when the goalie has taken 2 or 3 steps towards you.  As they are focused on coming out, a quick shot may distract them and leave them flat-footed, but once again it all depends on your abilities and comfort level.

Another thing to consider is visualizing your shot.  Pick a corner and see the ball going there as your take your shot.  You will be amazed at how often this moment of forethought will aid you in successfully converting that chance.

But no matter what, don’t let the thought of missing the goal or shooting over the crossbar enter your mind.  In fact, forget I even mentioned that right now.  Worrisome thoughts or a negative approach lead to likely mistakes and that is the exact opposite of what you need in front of goal.  A great striker is both poised and confident, ready to spring to action and score off of any chance.  A clean break away should be a sure goal for a pure striker.


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