13 Shooting & Finishing Activity Ideas

I’ve never been a big fan of shooting & finishing session plans, as they often involve activities with loads of wait time, and take up too much time for something that happens actually relatively infrequently in games. Instead, I’ve preferred to work on shooting & finishing with players in 1on1 or small-group training sessions, where the repetition can still be high and the waiting time low. That said, players love shooting & finishing sessions. Who doesn’t like to shoot and score goals? All players enjoy these sessions, even goalkeepers and defenders as it means they get opportunities to do what they love too. So with that, here is a variety of shooting & finishing activities to help you design your own shooting & finishing session with individuals or groups. The activities are separated between the amount of repetition and wait time, helping you make a distinction between which might be useful for smaller numbers and which can be done in team training.

HIGH REPITITION, HIGH WAIT TIME

1. SHOOTING/FINISHING COMBO 1

Setup/Execution: Set-up as shown with diamond of cones in the middle. Green 1 moves into the diamond as Green 2 passes the ball. Green 1 takes first touch out of their feet into space, in any direction they want, before shooting on goal. Green 1 retrieves ball and switches roles with Green 2. White team players can go as soon as Green 1 takes their touch through the cones and so on and so on. Works best with 4-8 players. DO NOT have more than 8 players in a group without splitting up in 2. Make a competition between sides as you progress.

Coaching Points:   
– First touch out of feet, into space, with outside of foot.
– Finish hard and low for best chance at beating goalkeeper
– Part of the foot (shooting = laces, finishing = side of the foot)
– Read positioning and body language of the goalkeeper.
– Encourage players to take touches and shots with both feet.

2. shooting & finishing combo 2

Setup/Execution: Set-up as shown with diamond of cones in the middle. Green 1 moves into the diamond as Green 2 passes the ball. Green 1 now plays a give and go with Green 2, who moves into space. Green 2 shoots. Same recommendation of group sizes as above.  Make it a competition.

Progressions:
– Green 2 now makes decision of shoot or cross to Green 1, who has followed their pass into the box.
– Green 1 now makes the decision of first touch and shoot, or playing wide to Green 2.

Coaching Points:   
– First touch out of feet, into space, hips angled toward goal.
– Part of the foot (shooting = laces, finishing = side of the foot).
– Timing of the runs for the best chance at scoring (don’t get ahead of ball or too close to goalkeeper).

3. shooting & finishing combo 3

Setup/Execution: Set-up as shown. Green 1 plays give and go with Green 2, then runs through a set of blue cones of choice. Green 2 plays the ball into space. Green 1 shoots. Have green and white shoot on different nets if more than six players.

Progressions:
– Add a defender in behind Green 1 who must run around the other set of blue cones and then defend.  Make a competition between sides later on.

Coaching Points:   
– Timing of the runs for the best chance at scoring (don’t get ahead of ball or too close to goalkeeper).
– First touch out of feet, into space, hips angled toward goal.
– Part of the foot (shooting = laces, finishing = side of the foot)
– Receive on the half-turn, with the back-foot.
– Encourage players to take shots with both feet.

4. Shooting & finishing combo 4

Setup/Execution: Set-up as shown. Green 1 plays give and go with Green 2. Green 2 advances into space down the wide area. Green 1 advances into the box to receive cross from Green 2. Green 1 shoots.

Progression: After the give and go, Green 2 has the decision to either cross or shoot. Make it a competition later on.

Coaching Points:   
– Timing of the runs for the best chance at scoring (don’t get ahead of ball or too close to goalkeeper).
– First touch out of feet, into space, hips angled toward goal.
– Part of the foot (shooting = laces, finishing = side of the foot)
– Receive on the half-turn, with the back-foot.
– Encourage players to take shots with both feet.

5. anything but your hands

Setup/Execution: Set-up as shown with two separate teams on starting cones. As soon as attacker dribbles the ball, defender can go. Attacker
dribbles around the cone, re-orients themselves, and shoots right away after the cone to try and score. The defender can stop them by using
anything but their hands and arms (i.e. knee, foot, head, etc.). Once a shot is taken, the next player in line goes, prompting the next defender to go too. Go three shots each or count how many goals after 2 minutes. Which team can get the most goals?

Coaching Points:
– Angle of shot against the direction of the sprinter or placed where they will never reach it.
– Power of the shot to scare opposition defender from blocking it.
– Quick transitions between shooters to catch opposition off guard.


lower repitition, no wait time

1. three team 4v4 game

Setup/Execution: 4v4 game in a tight, narrow area with 2 outside neutrals. When a team gets scored on, they become the neutrals and goalkeepers as the neutrals and goalkeepers form the new team of 4. 

Coaching Points:   
– First touch out of feet, into space, hips angled toward goal.
– Part of the foot (shooting = laces, finishing = side of the foot)
– Receive on the half-turn, with the back-foot.
– Encourage players to take shots with both feet.
– Don’t force the shot, work the right moment. 
– Encourage shooting from all players through rewards (e.g. goal by a
defender = 2 points).

2. CHAOS SHOOTING GAME

Setup/Execution: Chaos in a small area with no space for either side. 4v4/5v5 in a central grid with two neutrals and two goalkeepers. Players work the right angle to finish at the right moment. Focus is on finishing under pressure. 

Coaching Points:
– Hips angled toward goal. Get body and feet set before the shot.
– Part of the foot (shooting = laces, finishing = side of the foot)
– Use neutrals for space and crossing opportunities. Time runs to
receive from neutrals rather than waiting and standing still.
– Encourage players to take shots with both feet.
– No shame in forcing the shot when this close to goal and under this much pressure.
– Encourage shooting from all players through rewards (e.g. first team to have all players score a goal wins the game).

3. three passes to score game

Setup/Execution: Each team has a 4v2 advantage in their own half. Players are locked into their half. If extra players, add in outside neutrals or
increase the advantage. Play in your own half to try and go forward at the right moment either through a pass into attackers or a shot. At any time attackers in other half can score on a rebound or through pressing
opposition as they make their three passes.

Progression: After 3 passes, players can also dribble across the line if they choose. If their team loses the ball, they or the other attacker must retreat.

Coaching Points:   
– First touch out of feet, into space, hips angled toward goal.
– Part of the foot (shooting = laces, finishing = side of the foot)
– Receive on the half-turn, with the back-foot.
– Encourage players to take shots with both feet.
– If after 3 passes it’s not the right time, keep passing and work the angle.

4. three passes to score VariationS

Set-Up/Execution: Same coaching points and idea as above, except a few variations that are worthwhile.

  • After 3 passes, players can advance into a shooting zone marked by orange cones to score.
  • No need to make 3 passes. Players can shoot at any time, when they feel the time is right. Working the right angle to shoot is still encouraged.

HAPPY MEDIUM

1. 5V5 FITNESS & FINISHING

Set-Up/Execution: 3V3-5V5 in one central grid. Each player has a number. When their number is called, players must abandon the game, run around the cone, sprint back up to the ball and either take a shot on net or engage in a 1v1 situation. It is preferred to be a competition/race to the ball, rather than all players getting a shot, but you can also do it that way to increase reps.

Coaching Points:
– Bend knees when turning around the cone and get low rather than tall.
– Speed and agility to beat the player, then take first touch away from their running direction.
– After positive first touch, get shot off quickly.
– Don’t just watch what’s going on in the 1v1, keep playing in the larger group with same speed and intensity. Try to take advantage of the numbers when your team has the ball and a number is called. Head for goal right away.

2. SHOOTING & FINISHING 3V2

Setup/Execution: Defenders start with the ball at the bottom of the grid and play it into one of the three white players at the top of grid. Then a 3v2 game ensues. If defense win the ball, they look to
penetrate in either a central or wide area by finding a target. Attacking team works on supporting angles and triangle shapes to combine and create the right shooting moment.

Coaching Points:   
– How and when to move off the ball to support the player in
possession and create angles for the shot
– Once you have space to do so, get the shot off.
– Take risks and use both feet, plus a variety of types of shots.
– Shots hard and low. Aim for the corners by having hips and follow through angled where you want to shoot.

3. 1V1, 2V1, 2V2

Setup/Execution: Players on orange cones start with a 1v1. Player at the top is the attacker, player closer to the goal is the defender. Once a shot has been made or defender has won the ball and scored by running with the ball through the green gate at the top, the blue cone players join to create a 2v2, with the player at the bottom bringing the ball in play. By having the activity so close to goal, shot repetition should be high.

Progression: Add in a 2v1 before the 2v2. The 2v1 occurs between the player at the top of the box on the blue cone and the player who has either just shot or lost the 1v1 against the white defender on the orange cone. Then after 2v1, play 2v2. This means another set of balls will need to be added at the top blue cone.

Coaching Points:
– Timing of the shot or finish based on positioning of the defender(s) and amount of pressure
– Aim for the corners.
– Power vs. accuracy
– Angle hips and follow through toward where you want to score.

4. shooting & finishing 4V2

Set-Up/Execution: Three teams of two (or applicable even number teams to your attendance. Green team plays into black, then a 4v2 occurs, with all players moving out of their starting areas. Green/black try to shoot and score on white team’s net. White team attempts to recover and score while playing 2v4. If white team scores, they switch places with green as black becomes defense and green goes to black’s spot.

Coaching Points:
– How to exploit overloads using patience and angles.
– How to get out of underloads through quick thinking & verticality.
– Be patient in the 4v2 to create the right shooting angle.
– Support angles and how & when to move off the ball.
– Accuracy vs. power and the techniques associated with each.


So there it is! 13 Shooting & Finishing Activities. Some of these activities can be used in smaller groups or individual training to get high repetition with low wait time, while others can be used to gain shooting and finishing opportunities in team training without any lines or wait time. Be sure to check out more of our Session Plans and our brand new Coach Education section, where we’ve categorized everything you might want to know and learn more about as a football coach. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter @mastermindsite. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

You might also enjoy…
-> 13 Warm-Up Activities with the Ball
-> How To Move Like A World Class Striker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s