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Thursday, June 17

Spectacular Goals, Anyone?

Except for the Germany game, the World Cup so far hasn’t been anywhere close to a celebration of goals. Also, the kind of goals that have been scored (keeper fumbles, deflections, etc.) is not one that’s expected from the world’s best. Where are those bicycle kicks, swirling free-kicks, heel jabs or those thumping headers? Ronaldo, Messi, Kaka, Villa, Rooney, Torres, Robinho, Lampard, Henry– its time to relearn some of that magic.

Here’s a look at some mind-boggling goals scored during the recent past, along with the techniques on how to execute them. So if the stars have forgotten, we might just be able to teach them.

Bicycle (or) Scissor Kick

The ‘bicycle’ or ‘scissor’ kick is arguably one of the most breathtaking kicks of all, visually that is. The legendary Pele was one of the pioneers of this ‘extremely difficult to imitate’ kick.

It’s not just the tough, rugged Africans or Latinos who execute the shot well, even a 6ft 7in Peter Crouch can do it.

How to scissor kick? – With your back to the goal, leap up in the air and extend your kicking foot to meet the ball airborne and fall backwards. Please don’t try this at home, try it on a lush green football field.

Back Heel Jab

The ‘back heel’ kick may not look as spectacular as the ‘bicycle’ one but the result can surprise many including the player himself, i.e. if timed well. Thierry Henry’s back heel jab during his prime at Arsenal is one goal he will cherish forever.

Want to try the back heel? – For this you need to be well-balanced and be on the look for an opportune time to have a go at the ball with your powerful heel.

Be warned, if this kick’s not executed successfully you could look foolish and may even be pulled up for a foul.

Banana (or) Bend-The-Ball kick

There are many players like Ronaldinho, Christiano Ronaldo & Steven Gerrard who excel in bending the ball. But the one who is most popular and even has a flick named of after this kick is David Beckham.

How to bend it like Beckham? – For this particular kick, apart from the direction and the skill of the player concerned, you also need gravitational forces and the wind to plays their part. Also remember to try kicking the ball at an angle off the centre.

This kick, as Beckham would say, can only mastered by continuous practice.

Chip (or) Boom Ball Kick

This kick requires exceptional power, skill, timing and precision – yes, all of these along with some good luck. Many players aimlessly kick the ball the distance but there are very few who score goals with such kicks.

We have a good boom ball kicker in Xabi Alonso, who has time and again proved that his kicks aren’t a flash in the pan but brilliantly executed ones.

What is the ‘boom ball’ kick? – This is a long distance kick (can be as long as 70-80 meters away from the goal). To try the kick, you need to keep an eye on the goal-keeper’s movements and when he’s out-of-position surprise him by lobbing the ball into the goal.

If you’re a physics student, there’s a good chance you might be able to convert this.

Dummying or Fake Kick

When you can fake everything else and still score, why not a ‘fake kick’? A fake kick or dummying in football is one where you trick your opponent into thinking that the ball is going one way but it actually goes the other way.

While one may not see such scoring shots too often, a ‘fake’ kick can be an extremely rewarding goal-scoring shot. Here, the goal-keeper and the defenders are most often sold to the dummy and hence it becomes difficult for them to recover in-time for the next shot.

Let’s go back to soccer school and see how professionals do it. Watch the video closely:

Header Shot

This is among the most common of goal-scoring techniques when the ball’s airborne. Though it looks simple on TV, headers can easily be mistimed or missed totally or it could also result in an injury if the contact’s made on the wrong side of the head.

How to head the ball right? – Focus to ensure you hit the centre on the ball with the front part of your forehead (above the eyeline and below the hairline, i.e. with a typical hairline & not a receding one

Other points to be kept in mind while heading include: keeping the eyes open, having the arms out along with a foot forward for balance.

An offensive header needs power, will need one to stand-up tall & timed to perfection for a goal. Christiano Ronaldo gets it right on most occasions – here’s a compilation:

The 6 mentioned are only some of the more glamorous goal-scoring methods. You also have the half-volley kick, sliding kick and the use of the chest to push the ball into the net. And if all these don’t work, we still have the hands to score (warning: not a legal way of scoring).

Now back to the game to see if any of these happen in the remaining matches.