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 the ball 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.

Small Group Training Session – Spatial Awareness & Scanning

With all the restrictions going on in the world of COVID-19 right now, small group training sessions are becoming more and more common-place, as coaches are forced to split their groups into smaller numbers. Here is a session plan all about scanning & spatial awareness for 4 players.

13 Warm-Up Activities with the Ball

It's seen less and less often today, but back in time warm-ups were hardly ever done with a ball and incorporated things like running laps and static stretching. Luckily, coaches of today have realized that warm-up activities can incorporate the ball, whether it be gradually or right away, and achieve the same outcomes of "warming-up". In fact, these activities not only get players moving and hypothetically help to decrease the risk of injury as a good warm-up should; but they also get players to practice their technical and tactical skills. This allows players to warm-up not just their muscles, but their brains as well. Here are 13 warm-up activities for young players, aged 6-14.

Playing Forwards vs. Backwards – Session Plan & Coaching Points

Many young and inexperienced players have the bad habit of kicking the ball away without looking. Sometimes it comes off, but most of the time these players are only playing into the hands of their opposition, as the opposition recovers the ball without having to do any defending. Players of any age need to learn … Continue reading Playing Forwards vs. Backwards – Session Plan & Coaching Points

Progressive Possession – Full Session Plan & Key Coaching Points

Many young and inexperienced players have the bad habit of kicking the ball away without looking. Sometimes it comes off, but most of the time these players are only playing into the hands of their opposition, as the opposition recovers the ball without having to do any defending. Players of any age need to learn … Continue reading Progressive Possession – Full Session Plan & Key Coaching Points

Switching Play – Full Session Plan & Coaching Points

The popularity of switching play as a tactical concept has long been a dominating strategy in the world of football. Its popularity is exemplified by the many different forms and names it has taken on over the years such as changing the point of attack or playing across the direct game channels. Even at the younger ages, switching play can be an essential tactic to deploy with any team. Concepts like maintaining width, crossing, and shifting the ball from left to right are universal to the sport, regardless of age. Here is an updated session plan all about one of the most essential session topics in youth soccer/football – Switching Play.

Quick Transitions – Full Session Plan & Key Coaching Points

Transitional moments are an understated, underrated and under-coached part of the modern game. How a team sets up after winning or losing the ball can make or break a team. As a result, today we share this full session plan on 'Quick Transitions' with a variety of activities guided towards both attacking and defensive transitions.

Playing Out From The Back – Session Plan & Coaching Points (2020 Edition)

Playing out from the back is one of the most important elements of the modern game. Not only is it better for development than kicking it long, it is also easier and allows a team fewer risks at losing the ball. As a result, coaches of any age group should be looking to teach players young and old the necessary steps of playing out from the back. In order to help guide these coaches, we introduce a brand new session all about playing out from the back, for youth teams of any age.

Pressing From The Front – Session Plan & Key Coaching Points

Pressing from the front is one of the most important elements of the modern game. As opposed to a low-block and allowing the opposition time and space to play out from the back, almost every professional team in existence presses high up the pitch, vigorously and rigorously in an attempt to win the ball back and go on the attack right away, closer to the opposition’s goal. As a result, coaches of any age group should be looking to teach players young and old the necessary steps to win the ball back high up the field through putting pressure on their opposition. In order to help guide these coaches, we examine some of the most basic elements of pressing from the front through a session plan all about this essential topic.

1V1 Attacking & Defending – Session Plan & Key Coaching Points

Over the years of coaching youth soccer, I have seen entire curriculums made up of 1v1/2v2 and activities. Sometimes clubs focus solely on these topics throughout their curriculums, particularly with regards to younger players. For me personally, I love to be more possession-focused and most of my activities revolve around topics of how to get the most out of our attack and time on the ball. 1V1 and 2V2 activities can also be dangerous to implement as a lot of them involve far too much waiting in lines. That said, 1v1 defending and attacking is still an essential session topic to cover in any season, regardless of your coaching philosophy and approach. As the great football pundit and commentator Don Hutchinson once said - "People think it's a game of 11v11. It's not. It's a game of 1v1. Win your individual battles." So with that, here is a session all about both 1v1 attacking and 1v1 defending.