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Young player shoots at goal while others try to tackle
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Consider your players' age and stage

First up, what do we actually mean by age and stage? Matt explains.

So, how does this apply to your shooting session? 

Well, young or inexperienced players are more likely to favour simple finishes, like a toe poke or using their laces. These shots appeal to novice footballers because they involve less hip and foot movement. They also offer more power.   


If your team is very inexperienced, consider creating practices that pit one player against one keeper. This type of game means that individuals don't have to struggle past an opponent before trying to score.   

Another excellent starting point is to help your team work on the shots they're most comfortable with. Then, as their confidence increases, move on to more complex finishes – and involve more players.

Mix up your goals

Where you put your goal – and how many you use – can significantly impact your session. In the video below, Ian discusses how.

Using lots of goals involves splitting your team into separate groups, which can feel a bit daunting. But don’t worry. Maximising the opportunity to shoot is a great way to create an engaging session that requires minimal management. However, if you’re concerned, you can ask parents to help.

Finally, don’t forget that a goal doesn't have to be a goal. If you're struggling, try using cones or even ‘jumpers for goalposts'. But remember: if you have a mix of makeshift and proper goals, make sure everyone has a chance to shoot at the real thing.

When it comes to boosting shots, increasing the number of goals you use is an excellent first step. In addition to this (or instead of), you could split your team into smaller group games. This maximises the amount of time each player spends on the ball.

 

Manage your expectations

It's essential to recognise your team's physical and technical capabilities – and encourage them to shoot on their terms.

For example, young players are less likely to finish first time and they might need to be closer to the goal to score. To support this, try creating activities that reward shots from short distances.

When coaching older players, you're more likely to see first-time finishes. You're also more likely to spot players achieving an assist. As above, use this information to tailor your training to your team.

Embrace the chaos

It's OK for your session to look messy. Young players, especially, often swarm around footballs like bees to a honey pot. As Matt states below, the important thing is to keep football fun.

Interested? Check out the five goals, five ways session.