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England's Beth Mead shoots from inside the six-yard box, with the inside of her left foot, and scores against Luxembourg.

Simply put, this technique involves using the top of your foot to shoot (where the laces are usually found on football boots). It's a popular type of finish – especially with younger teams – as it generates a lot of power. As a result, players who use their laces may feel like they’ve had a good shot, even if their effort wasn’t accurate.

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Instep

The instep is the arched part of the top of the foot. It sits between the laces and the side of the foot. Players use their instep to apply curl when striking under and to the side of the ball. If your team are into gaming and need help visualising this technique, explain that using the ‘finesse shot’ on FIFA tends to prompt an instep finish.

For the ideal example of this technique, look no further than Ella Toone in the WEURO 2022 final. As she raced through on goal and expertly lifted the ball over the oncoming keeper, Wembley erupted. This type of finish requires a lot of skill and involves using your foot to make contact underneath the ball. It provides an eye-catching finish that will often live long in the memory.

A volley is when a player strikes the ball first-time as it's dropping out of the air. If it bounces before the player connects with it, or they hit it on the bounce, it's classed as a half volley.

 

Volleys are a highly technical finish. Players need to:

  • watch the flight of the ball
  • position themselves accordingly
  • adjust their body orientation
  • choose the ideal time to make a connection.

Here's Dele Alli getting everything right. 

Side-foot place

This is probably the most common type of finish, particularly from inside the box. At a basic level, this technique is when a player uses the inside of their foot. It offers accuracy over power and is often used by players as they try to place a shot beyond the keeper. Here are some examples of a side-foot place in action.

Toe poke

Players are typically discouraged from using this technique, but it's a good job that Chloe Kelly didn't listen. A quick toe-poke finish by the England forward saw the Lionesses crowned Euro 2022 champions. And your team can benefit from it too.

Sure, this technique isn't fancy, but it can catch the opposition off guard. It’s often a go-to shot for the young players who want to kick the ball quickly and generate a lot of power.

Dribble around the goalkeeper

Composure, timing and good dribbling skills are vital to this technique. For instance, a player may draw the keeper in with small touches, and then wait for them to commit to a position or go to ground. At this point, the player can then push the ball around the keeper – and on to goal. Here are some examples.

Header

This type of shot tends to follow a corner, free-kick, cross or long throw. Examples include a diving header, a flicked header or a stooping header – like Harry Kane's goal against Germany.


It's important to note that there's a trial to remove deliberate heading in matches for U12s and below. So, headers may be restricted or eliminated depending on the age of your players. Be sure to follow the relevant guidance.


Top tip: to familiarise your players with headers, consider using balloons or sponge footballs.


Knee or chest

These aren't conventional techniques, but they can get the ball into the back of the net. For example, your players could improvise and use their knee or chest to guide a deflection over the line.


Summary

Understanding different finishes can help you support your team's development. And while this list covers a lot, there are still loads of other techniques to explore. After all, who could forget Alessia Russo's brilliant back-heel against Sweden? Or Wayne Rooney's acrobatic effort against Manchester City?


To continue the conversation – and to let us know your favourite finish – visit the England Football Community.