Finishing - 2 Strikers Combine

  • Author: Ian Knapp
  • Age Group: U9 to U17+
  • Time: 20 minutes
Introduction:

This is a fun practice that introduces the idea of 2 forward players combining, whilst getting plenty of opportunities to shoot and to try and beat defenders. It's quick-fire, competitive and great fun. It works best with between 7 and 11 players, including a goalkeeper. If you have more players, just run the same session in two halves.


Setup:
  • Half pitch with one goal and goalkeeper. Vary size of pitch / area depending on age group.
  • Remaining players split into pairs, each pair wearing a different coloured set of bibs
  • 5 footballs in the middle of the pitch
  • One pair with the footballs as attacking players (white shirts, below), the other pairs to the side of the goal as defenders

Rules:

  • Play starts with the attacking pair (in white, above) collecting a ball from the centre and calling out the number of defenders they want to face (from 1 to 3)
  • Attacking pair try to score, whilst the number of defenders they call out become "active" and break out from the edge of pitch and try to defend the goal.
  • If the attacking pair get a shot on target, they get 1 point per defender on the pitch. If they score they get triple points.
  • After all 5 balls have been used, the attacking pair switch with another pair and become defenders.
  • Rotate through all the pairs.
  • Defenders need to decide amongst themselves whose turn it is to defend the next ball, so fair rotation occurs. Coach can assign numbers to make that easier.
  • Active defenders are working together regardless of bib colour. Defenders don't have to be of the same bib colour to break out and become active - just ensure the order stays reasonably fair and everyone gets a turn.
  • In the above example, the attacking pair (white) have chosen to face 2 defenders and the 2 orange defenders have decided to go and defend. Because they are facing 2 defenders, the attacking pair will score 2 points for every shot on target and 6 points for every goal they score.
  • After each pair has had a turn at attacking, scores are added up and a winner is decided. Can either then have a second round or move on.

Progressions & Alternatives:
  • Use 3 players per team instead of 2.
  • Rotate the goalkeeper out after one round so as to give variety to all players.
  • Start the defenders closer or further away to make the exercise harder / easier.
  • Extra points for headed goals, volleys, wrong foot goals etc.
  • Start the play from the coach in the centre circle, with the attacking players already making their runs.
  • Extra points for goals scored from outside the penalty box.

Coaching Points (FA's 4 Corners):
TechnicalPsychological
  • First touch to take the ball into space to try and create a goalscoring chance and not run into a defender.
  • Look up and pick your spot for your shot (where is the GK? Where are the defenders? Shot placement).
  • Can you get a first time shot away before the defenders and GK are set?
  • Shot type - power / placed / lobbed / chipped / curled / outside of boot / inside of boot / laces.
  • Weight and accuracy of pass to your teammates.
  • Body shape when receiving the pass. Linked to first touch.
  • Follow in shots in case the goalkeeper spills the ball.
  • Unbalance goalkeeper by using your body movement and "fakes".
  • Communication (tell your teammate if they have space / time and what to do with the ball - pass / shoot / hold it up etc.)
  • Decision making - type of shot, when to shoot, when to pass.
  • Confidence to try again if a shot is missed or a poor touch is taken.
  • Confidence to try things - different types of finish.
Physical
  • Strength to hold off defenders and shield the ball if required.
  • Agility when receiving the ball and getting into shooting positions.
  • Balance when receiving the ball.
  • Speed of shot, as well as speed and pace to get to the ball quickly.
  • Working as a team between you to create chances.
  • Encouraging others and not being negative
  • Communication
  • Have fun!