Finishing Circuit

  • Author: Ian Knapp
  • Age Group: U9 to U17+
  • Time: 15 - 30 minutes

This circuit practice is all about goalscoring and is intended to be used as the start to a session on goalscoring / finishing. It’s a fairly practice that should give every player a chance to take plenty of shots, get themselves warmed up nicely and get some of the key coaching points across. Because the set up is pitch based, you can easily just shift the goals back across at the end and move straight into a match. The progressions allow you to take it as far as you like, depending on ability / age.

I've set it up as an "arrival activity" below, in that you can start it off with just 4 or 5 players and as more players arrive, progress to adding goalkeepers, defenders, bounce players etc. as you wish (see progressions below). If you have all your players ready to go at the same time, you can skip straight to the first progression if you want to.

  • Appropriately sized pitch for the numbers you have (approx mini soccer size but slightly larger for older players), with one goal brought in to around 3/4 of the way down the pitch and the goals slightly off centre to avoid players bumping into each other.
  • Cones A & B to mark approximate start positions for players. 2 more cones in front of goals to mark approximate position of bounce players (passers) during progression.

On Arrival:

  • As players arrive, they get a ball each and starting from cone A, do a circuit where they drive towards the cone on the edge of the box and shoot (see diagram 1).
  • They then take their ball and head for cone B, where they do the same thing at the other end.
  • Players collect their own ball after each shot.

First Progression:

  • Add a bounce player (passer) on each of the cones in front of the goals.
  • Player on cone A plays a pass to the bounce player, who lays it off for the first player to shoot.
  • Player then continues on to the back of the queue behind cone B, as before.

Second Progression:

  • Bring semi passive defenders in to add some realism for the bounce player (see diagram 3)
  • Rotate defenders and bounce players (and goalies if required).
  • Once all players are involved, fetching their shots back should mean a steady flow of players and no queues.

Coaching Points (FA's 4 Corners):
  • Look up and pick your spot for your shot (where is the GK? Shot placement).
  • First touch to take the ball into a shooting position or to hold the ball up.
  • Shot type - power / placed / lobbed / chipped / curled / outside of boot / inside of boot / laces.
  • Early shot before the goalkeeper is set.
  • Weight and accuracy of pass by the bounce players.
  • Follow in shots in case the goalkeeper spills the ball.
  • Unbalance defenders and goalkeeper by using your body movement and "fakes".
  • Communication (tell the player on the ball what to do with it)
  • Decision making - type of shot, when to shoot etc.
  • Confidence to try again if a shot is missed or a poor touch is taken.
  • Confidence to try things - different types of finish.
  • Strength to hold off defenders and shield the ball.
  • Speed - making runs in behind defenders.
  • Agility when receiving the ball and getting into shooting positions.
  • Balance when receiving the ball.
  • Working as a team
  • Encouraging others and not being negative
  • Communication
  • Have fun!