Last updated on June 16th, 2021
You may have seen some shots that should have been goals, except that it hit the post!
Are these shots that hit the post considered as a shot on target?
Is hitting the post a shot on target?
A shot on target is defined as a shot that goes into the net or is saved by either a goalkeeper or the last man. If a shot hits the post and results in a goal, it will be considered as a shot on target.
In all other scenarios, hitting the post will be deemed as a shot off target.
What is a shot on target?
First, we’ll need to understand what a shot on target really means.
A shot on target is defined as any goal attempt that:
1. Goes into the net regardless of intent.
2. Is a clear attempt to score that would have gone into the net but for being saved by the goalkeeper or is stopped by a player who is the last-man with the goalkeeper having no chance of preventing the goal (last line block).
Shots directly hitting the frame of the goal are not counted as shots on target, unless the ball goes in and is awarded as a goal.
To put it simply, a shot on target means that the shot would have been a goal if not for the goalkeeper saving it.
When the ball goes into the net, it is considered a shot on target. As such when you hit the post but the ball still goes into the net, it will be considered as a shot on target.
However, if you hit the post and it does not go into the goal, it will be considered as a shot off target.
This is because your shot would not have led to a goal in the first place.
Why is hitting the post not a shot on goal?
The post is considered as the boundary that defines the goal, but it is not considered to be a part of the goal. If you hit the post, you are not actually hitting the target, so it will not be considered as a shot on goal.
You may be wondering why hitting the woodwork is not considered as a shot on target. Shouldn’t it be considered the target since it helps to define the goal?
The post does define the target. However, it is not the target!
This is because a player who wishes to score a goal will aim for the net, and not the post. This is why the target is only the goal and excludes the goalposts.
You can view this interesting debate on Twitter regarding this issue:
The main aim of football is to put the ball into the net. This is why any shot that results in a goal will be considered as a shot on target.
Hitting the post may or may not result in a goal. If you score a goal via hitting the post, it is considered as a shot on target. However if you hit the post and it does not result in a goal, it is considered as a shot off target.
The definition of a shot off target by Opta also clearly includes hitting the post:
A shot off target is defined as any clear attempt to score that directly hits the frame of the goal and a goal is not scored.
So long as a goal is not scored after hitting the post, the shot will be a shot off target.
Other possible scenarios
For some other scenarios where the ball hits the post, the definition may not be so clear. Here is an explanation on why these scenarios will lead to a shot on or off target:
#1 Blocked or deflected shots that hit the woodwork
In this scenario, the shot is considered to be off target. This is because any outfield player besides the goalkeeper will be able to block or deflect a shot.
If the goalkeeper blocks the shot, this is considered as a save. This is because he prevented the ball from entering the net from a shot.
A shot will be considered on target only if the keeper makes a save to prevent it from going in. Since the shot was blocked by an outfield player and not the goalkeeper, it cannot be a shot on target.
It is irrelevant whether or not the ball hits the post for it to be considered as a shot on target. This is because the ball did not enter the goal and it was not saved by the goalkeeper.
#2 A goalkeeper parries a shot and it hits the post
In this scenario, it is considered as a shot on target.
If the goalkeeper had not been in the goal, the shot would have led to a goal. However, the keeper was there to make a save. In the process, the keeper parried the ball to the goalpost.
Again, it does not matter whether the ball hits the post or not. This is because the ball hitting the post was a result of the keeper parrying the ball.
Since the shot could have led to a goal but was saved by the keeper, it will be considered to be a shot on target.
Is off the post and into the goal considered as a shot on target?
As long as the football goes into the goal, it will be considered as a shot on target. It does not matter whether it hits the post or not on its way into the goal.
A shot on target is one where it results in a goal, or when the keeper or last man prevents the shot from entering the net.
As such, the only time when hitting the post is considered as a shot on target is when it results in a goal.
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