Thirty six minutes into the game and England are 2-0 up against a physical Panama side. Scoring goal number three would put the game out of sight and give England a huge lead over the central American side at the half time break.
Jesse Lingard, England's creative attacking midfielder, receives the ball on the left side of the pitch, turning with it, he then plays the ball into Raheem Sterling for a quick one-two. As Lingard receives the ball back from Sterling, he finds himself under pressure, about twenty five yards from goal. He is left with a decision, does he strike the ball with power on his laces, or try to place it with the inside of his foot into the far corner?
He takes the second option and bends the ball beautifully into the far corner, out of the reach of Panama goalkeeper, Penedo. As the ball curls past the keeper it clips the underside of the crossbar and nestles into the back of the net, to the delight of the travelling England fans.
As Jesse Lingard wheels away to celebrate, the nation realises it has just seen something spectacular.
Was it a fortunate shot, one that he luckily hit sweetly into the top corner?
The answer to that is no. He has practised this technique for countless hours and hours, perfecting the skill of curling into the far corner.
No skill comes easily initially, it is a bit of trial and error, assessing how to strike the ball and with how much power. Sometimes he may have found that he was aiming too wide of the post, or too centrally. However, the more shots he practised, the more accurate he would become.
Top players will spend hours focusing on techniques such as these, aiming to routinely hit the far corner. With consistent and regular training the players will put themselves in a position where it feels natural. They will arrive on the edge of the area and without thinking, due to their training and muscle memory, they will bend the ball into the far corner of the goal.
They have performed the skill so much in their own training that they are prepared and comfortable when it comes to the key moment, in a key game.
Learn how to bend the ball into the far corner, like Jesse Lingard, by watching the video tutorial below. Keep practising this technique and you will see the benefits. As soon as you find yourself in a position just outside the penalty area you will have the confidence to look up and curl that ball around the out-stretched hand of the goalkeeper.
There are three key points to remember when curling the ball to the far corner:
- Your first touch should be a step or two out of your feet, allowing you to approach the ball and have the room for a clean connection.
- Aim your hips wide of the goal, your follow through will then curl the ball into the far corner.
- Strike the ball on the instep, close to the inside of the big toe.
Focus on these key areas and continue to practise. For some players it may take less attempts on goal to become very confident in this technique, whereas for others it may take longer. Focus on yourself and keep practising and you will soon find yourself in a similar position in a game.
Before you know it, you will be running away in celebration after scoring a brilliantly placed goal, out of the keepers reach, just like Jesse Lingard.
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