Goalscoring - The How and Where!

Although this post is to help you understand how and where goals are scored to create yourself an individual plan, regardless of what position you play, you can create something similar for yourself.

Now, we are going to look in-depth at how you can work to build a training program that is “specific” to your needs.

The term “needs” =  (1) what the game demands from you (2) what strengths you must continue to improve, (3) what action areas/points you need to improve on.

As an example – I am going to use a forward for this process and I’m going to show that with a simple analysis, you can identify the exact type of goals they score (and miss) in games. This information can then be used to build a “specific” training plan to help you improve. This type of work can be done for all positions in the team. Once up and running, you as the player can also take OWNERSHIP of the analysis (The forward making his/her personal “goal map” as the season progresses etc…)”

Mo Salah

Mo Salah is one of the world's global soccer stars right now and rightly so. For the past two seasons, Mo has finished as the English Premier Leagues top goal scorer. 'The Egyptian King' took the league by storm after scoring 32 goals in a debut season with Liverpool. In the 2018/19 season, Salah notched another 22 league goals to finish joint top goalscorer with Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane and Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Below is a breakdown of Mo Salah's goals in the form of a “GOAL MAP“.

Each ball represents a goal scored and the exact position of the ball before Salah shoots.

The white balls = The 19 goals scored with his Left (more dominant) foot

The Red balls = The 3 goals scored with his Right foot

*Salah scored 0 headers in the season of 18/19 season

Now, we have this “GOAL MAP” we can go into each of the goals and see exactly how they were scored.

We can do this by looking at three keys things

Type of finish (right, head, left)Distance from goal when finishing Touches on the ball (including the shot).

I have deliberately kept this analysis simple, and in a basic form that all coaches and players can use.

(You can be more detailed if you wish – on the exact type of finish – position the ball enters the goal – covering defenders – or situation in the game, etc).

See below for a breakdown of each goal.

Goals 9,10 and 11 were penalties.

Breaking down Mo Salah's GOAL MAP we can see that he has scored 3 penalties. We can also see that he has scored 16 goals with a 1 touch finish and only 4 goals with more than 2 touches. This will have implications for his further training and his awareness of the type of goal he scores.

The distance from goal when scoring is also important, especially for young strikers that are not always arriving into the box and are maybe – not on the move enough or finishing their movement in the correct areas.

Salah's goals can be broken down as follows

0-6yd = 6 goals

7-12yd = 9 goals

13-18yd = 6 goals

19yd+ = 1 goals

From the information gathered, The feedback is clear and based on the facts of previous performances. Looking at the exact positions that goals are scored on the players “GOAL MAP” you can see which areas of the box they are most likely (and most unlikely) to score.

Salah is clearly a focused and determined player being the Premier League top scorer in the past two seasons. I am sure that he is getting this type of information and working specifically on the areas he wants to develop in his game.

Knowing that Salah has only scored one goal outside the box last season it makes you wonder why so many players show up before training and start practicing their shooting from 25 yards out? You are practicing every day for something that only happens once per season.

Developing as a player

Ok – so with a simple analysis and some video footage, you can develop a striker's awareness of the number of goals scored, types of goals scored and identify some trends in there individual play.

You can also watch any chances missed and then identify any trends that might come from this information too.

From this – you can build a very specific training plan that can be developed on a daily basis. The training will now become extremely focused and personal to you as a player.

This type of “project” will help you “own” the training and take ownership to develop these areas when possible. “For some positions, you may want to add physical statistics that coincide with the player's strongest performances in the season, etc..  You can make it as specific as you need or want too.

Role Models

For any young player, using a role model and analyzing this elite players' GOAL MAP or specific actions in a game, can also be a strong influence on a young player.

This can also help to “guide” a young player's training and improvement.

TIP – Getting into the box

Forwards are encouraged to get forwards to take the extra touch and go into the penalty box.

By going into the box, you create more options to use a variety of finishing techniques.



PowerChip or “Dink”

Going around the goalkeeper

Also when the ball is in the penalty area, defenders will naturally panic more!!.

This will often lead to the defenders lunging in (to block/tackle) and therefore, giving you the opportunity to fake and bring the ball in another direction or possibly lead to a foul/penalty.

When looking at different finishing techniques,

Ask your player – What techniques do they already have at an elite standard? and which ones do they need to develop more?

Add to the list above with:

Headers, Volleys, Half-volleys etc.. and go specific into each one (headers from the left, from the right, etc).

This post was inspired by Micahel Beale who originally posted a similar post in 2017 analysis Harry Kane's goal map from 2016.

Above is all of Mo Salah's Premier League goals from the 2018/19 season.

© 2023 by Train of Thoughts. Contact: djames@elitesoccerinstitute.com