Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Measure of Sin

photo by Biking Nikon PDXvia PhotoRee

Coach Tom is back with the latest edition of Coaches Corner, this time on the sin of knocking the ball anywhere but in the back of the goal:

Which is worse, shooting the ball over the net, or shooting the ball wide of the net?  The answer is neither.  Not shooting at all is the worst mistake any player can make.  Trick answers aside, the other correct answer would be high AND wide.  In my coaching days it was 10 pushups for over the bar, 20 for wide, and 30 for high and wide.  It seems only fair as the goal is three times as wider as it is high and, really, one mistake per shot is all one should tolerate.  Maybe I should have gone 60 for high and wide....hmmmm. 

And yet football is full of sinners -- one need look no further than Wayne Rooney's wayward effort against Arsenal last week (see below).  Folks pelt the stands, advertisements, ball boys, trees (so Correspondent Ed tells us) and ether with wayward efforts.  Aren't they supposed to be professionals?  My answer to that is simple:  try it. 

Go ahead.  Take 10 balls out to the local pitch and put them 15 yards from goal.  Then run at them and shoot (hard) at the net.  If you make 8 I'd be impressed.  Now add a goalkeeper.  If you get 6 on target I'll be gobsmacked.  Now, start with the balls 40 yards from goal (with the goalkeeper still in there) and let a defender chase you after you get 3 steps, make sure there are at least 13,000 fans yelling at you as well as the crack photographers from your favorite sports periodicals.  If you put 3 on frame you can have my Shannon Macmillan collectible sports bra with the signatures of all the Team USA 1999 Womens World Cup winners on it.

Shooting is hard.  It's unnatural to let the ball run under your center of gravity and then launch yourself forward into the ball.  Your body wants to reach toward the ball and getitassoonaspossiblesoitdoens'tgetawayfromyou! Even the most disciplined shooters fall victim to their own instinct; they're human, if just.   And while they may miss an awful lot, it makes the hits (even the ones requiring a spectacular save - which is a whole separate issue) all that much more sweet.

And for my fellow Americans out there who still have trouble wrapping their heads around what looks to be so simple a task [and who obviously did not perform the above experiment], think of it this way: you probably revere an athlete who fails at least 65% of the time (if not more) at his basic skill set - he's called a baseball player. 

This is farlieonfootie for December 24.


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