Finishing Key Points & Consideration

Each session within these pages contains individual coaching points relevant to that specific session. The below are general, finishing related coaching points, presented in line with the FA's 4 Corner model. Many of these are repeated within the session plans. The key thing to remember with all these coaching points is that they are just suggestions and that you will almost certainly not try to get all of them across in any one session. If a player goes away having taken just one point on board that has improved them, then you've done your job for that session. Too much information is overload and the likelihood is that nothing will stick...

Finishing - Key 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.
  • Follow in shots in case the goalkeeper spills the ball.
  • Unbalance defenders and goalkeeper by using your body movement and "fakes".
  • Movement to create space and "lose your marker".
  • Create space for other players by making runs into space and taking opponents with you.
  • 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.
  • Competitiveness - how winning / losing affects the players
  • Selfishness - the desire to score a goal yourself / get the glory vs doing what's best for the team.
  • Strength to hold off defenders and shield the ball.
  • Speed - making runs in behind defenders and speed to get to the ball quickly.
  • Agility when receiving the ball and getting into shooting positions.
  • Balance when receiving the ball.
  • Encouraging others and not being negative
  • Working together as a team
  • Have fun!


Considerations for Finishing Sessions

A few things to think about for any finishing session...

  • Size and shape of area - for example, if practising long range shooting, a short pitch can be useful as every player will get opportunities to shoot, wherever they are on the pitch. Great for helping midfielders and defensive players with their long range shots. If you're practicing running onto a through ball and shooting, then a longer area would be needed. Think about what you're trying to achieve, the number of players you have taking part and plan accordingly.
  • Size of goals - using the size goals your players are likely to use in a match will add realism to the practice. Too small and success rates will be low, which is no fun and too big and you could have a very miserable goalkeeper and players not thinking about their shots because virtually everything goes in. Having said that, you may want to use large goals initially if you're focusing on building confidence through lots of success.
  • Avoiding queues and lines - a lot of new coaches set up a shooting exercise where players stand in a line and walk forward to take a shot one by one. Aside from providing the players with very few touches and loads of waiting around, the players aren't actually being put in a realistic situation. When in a football match do players walk up and take a shot with no pressure, no teammates, no opponents, no movement of the ball and no movement of the goalkeeper or themselves? Pretty much only when taking a penalty. Line drills can work, but involve more realism - check out our finishing circuit practice for a better way of doing this, or our pre-match finishing warm up.
  • Make things game realistic - once your players have a good grasp of the basic technique of striking a ball towards goal, look to move into more game realistic practices... a moving ball, receiving the ball from a pass, a "live" goalkeeper and eventually opponents and team mates involved will mimic the "chaos" of a match and give your players the tools to deal with what they'll face on the pitch. These things can be layered in slowly for players who are still working on technique and basics, but eventually, if you want them to cope with game situations, they'll need to be practicing this sort of thing in a more realistic way than just kicking a static ball towards goal.