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Women's team during game

Theory

Finishing is scoring goals. It’s what players love, and the buzz of putting the ball in the net never wears off.  

Whether it’s a 30-yard strike into the top corner, a tap-in with the instep, or a header from a cross, goals win you games. By mastering finishing, you can ensure good play – all over the pitch – is rewarded.  

Scoring a goal is the tip of the iceberg, though. To achieve a skilful finish, players need to:  

  • get into a good position (one that’s hard to defend) 
  • scan the pitch (to gather info on the opposition) 
  • move into the most appropriate space 
  • judge the flight of the ball 
  • decide whether to control the pass or shoot first time
  • finish with the ideal amount of power.  

And they need to time all of this to perfection. This is obviously a tricky task – so your players need lots of opportunities to practice.  

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Example

Watch the video below to see finishing in action – and hear both coaches and players discuss this crucial skill.

Here are some ways to help your players develop their finishing skills.  

Focus on types of finishing  

A shot can take many forms. But younger players will often favour a toe poke or using their laces to strike the ball. These types of finishes only require basic movement skills and generate more power.  

A great way to build confidence is to let your players work on these ‘starter’ techniques. Then, when your team is ready, incorporate more advanced shots into your sessions. Examples include:  

  • side foot 
  • instep 
  • outside of the foot 
  • header 
  • volley. 

 

Make it more realistic over time

Training sessions need to be realistic if they are to translate into a game. So, as players master the skill of finishing, tune up the realism to maximise impact.  

To read more about how to do this, check out our article on how to design a shooting session.  

Consider your pitch set-up 

Finishing sessions can get messy. Footballs are flying everywhere, and players spend time chasing after them.   

Luckily, there are lots of simple ways to address this issue. For example, try placing a goal (or multiple goals depending on numbers) next to a fence, net or verge. The ball will then immediately bounce back to your team. Alternatively, if you train in an open space, run parallel games with goals back-to-back. Each group can swap footballs as they kick them over.  

Finally, don’t forget that anything can be a goal.