Just last week, SKLZ officially announced the introduction of their technically upgraded Goalshot to the market. You are probably familiar with Goalshot; a training device that sits on a full size soccer goal and allows you to work on shot accuracy. Cutouts in the corner give you areas to focus on placing your shots, improving your ability to find the correct spot in game situations.
A few weeks back, a freshly packaged Goalshot arrived in the door. As well as providing a little extra entertainment while testing boots out, the Goalshot has proved to be a valuable tool for personal coaching sessions. Along those lines, I’m sure there are going to be many coaches out there considering the idea of ordering one for their teams. Rather than being a standard review of the product, I wanted to take a different approach on this one. Instead I’m focusing on answering one of the fundamental questions I had about it before experiencing it:
How easy is this product to use and what is the real life process for setting it up?
STEP 1 – Take it out of the bag.
SKLZ include a super nice carry bag that helps you lug around the heavy duty net with ease. The first time you take it out of the bag, it is very tight and you are likely to need some help pulling it out. Because you get to roll it up and stuff it back in after first use, it is much less of an issue on future occasions.
Once out, my recommendation is to lay it out flat on the ground so you know what needs to go where. One you have it figured out, start getting it up on the goal.
STEP 2 – Start with the sides.
I found the easiest way to get it up was by starting with the sides, so that you know exactly where to attach the center straps. If you start with the crossbar, you end up out of whack and the sides won’t reach the posts. There are four buckles to help tighten it to the posts and they are very easy to manage. Once you close the buckle, there is a strap that allows you to pull it securely up against the post.
STEP 3 – Secure both sides then get center straps ready.
The bottom center of the Goalshot has a weighted chain in it, so your best bet for getting the correct shape is to make sure it sits just above the ground as you tighten the sides. For the top, start by placing the white straps in front of the Goalshot so you have easy access to each.
STEP 4 – Secure to the crossbar.
One of my initial concerns was how exactly I’d secure the Goalshot to the crossbar. I’m a generous 5’9″ in my boots, as you can see above, so I’m not exactly going to slide my hand over the crossbar. Thankfully, Goalshot has that covered. You need to throw the white strap over the top of the crossbar, then there is a closure buckle that you slide the strap into. When you have it in, you pull down tight to lift the Goalshot up towards the crossbar. Once it is close enough, you use a second black strap to close the buckle down on the white strap. To open, you simply pull that same black strap away from the net. This system works super well and is far easier than I expected.
Of note here, the first few times you put it up, it takes a little work to figure out. And the ends of the white straps have a melted plastic layer that I had to force through. But over time, it becomes easier and quicker to secure to the crossbar.
STEP 5 – Admire your work.
Yes, with both posts and the crossbar secured, you are already ready to stand back and admire your work! The above image shows how it looked after I had it secured for the first time. If you want to, you can tweak the straps in order to produce a clean and perfected fit across the goal, specifically along the top crossbar.
STEP 6 – Create some drills.
There are many ways that you can use the Goalshot, from long shots to placed finishes from crosses. Rather than talk about the ways it can be used (which I’m assuming you can figure out pretty easily) I’d recommend checking out the pros that use the system at the highest level. Check out Beast Mode Soccer below, who’ve been using the system for a while now!
STEP 7 – Wrap it up.
Post training, you are going to want to get it down and secured back in its bag as soon as possible. The easiest way to do this is slide it to the ground and fold across from one post to the other. You will need to double wrap a little, but once you have it in a condensed conical roll shape, it is ready to go back in the bag, as per below. I was surprised at how easy it is to break down and get back into the bag for future use.
To finish up, I wanted to try answer some questions that I would have had before testing it out, just to try give some additional info on what you can expect – if I miss anything, let me know in the comments below.
How much does it cost?
Is it worth the money?
There is huge benefit to something like this if you use it in the right way. It is important to note that it only fits on a full size goal, so you need to have one! For teams, it will prove extremely useful as players can challenge it other to improve and hit different areas of the goal. For private lessons I’ve found it to be invaluable – and players love it when it set up as they arrive.
How durable is it?
The materials right throughout, from the important latches and buckles to the actual net and stitching, are top notch. No complaints to date in this area.
I’m likely to use it in wet conditions – does that matter?
It might get a little heavier once wet, making it tougher to get in the bag, but overall the wet conditions won’t affect its intended purpose.
How long did it take to put up the first time?
I put it up, without reading any directions, within 10-15 minutes. Once I had it figured out, it became so much easier to put up and I’d say I’m well under the 10 minute mark at this stage.
Can I Put it up alone?
Yes – all the images above were taken by the only other person with me when I put it up for the first time. I thought I’d need help, specifically with the crossbar section, but SKLZ have looked over all the details and created a fully functional product!
Is it fun to use?
Without a doubt it is. You find yourself working on striking shots with precision rather than randomly at goal. And it is extremely rewarding when you smack it center of the gap, especially if you can repeat it with a second ball!
Anything that would make it better?
The only thing I was thinking was maybe a catch net behind each of the gaps to help in situations where there is no actual net in the goals. It would take a redesign but could prove useful. Another idea was a few cut out holes in the black central portion to allow for more complex shooting games, sort of like smaller targets to add an extra level of difficulty.