No matter how good a team or a player is, and no matter how well you have trained them, winning or losing a soccer match depends on one thing more than anything else, and that is finishing. While crossing and shooting set the stage for scoring a goal, finishing is the actual act of scoring it.
In the end, it all comes down to that last kick that puts the ball between the goalposts. If you want your players to make the right move at that deciding moment, soccer finishing drills can help make it possible. There are many soccer crossing drills and finishing games that you can make a part of the training to make sure your players put the ball at the right spot when the time comes.
This post will cover some of the best finishing drills for soccer. If you haven’t already, do check out our previous posts on soccer speed drills and soccer drills with cones. Before we get to the actual drills, let’s focus on the aims for these drills.
Aim of Soccer Crossing and Finishing Drills
Soccer crossing and finishing drills aim to subject the players to game-like scenarios and focus on the attack in the final third. One thing that must be noted here is that soccer drills for shooting and finishing are entirely different, but they always go hand in hand.
The aim of shooting drills is to train individual players to shoot the ball towards the goal, whereas soccer finishing drills help coordinate the efforts of the whole attack team to put the ball between the goalposts. However, in these drills, the whole team must act as a unit, so that both the individual and team skills of your players are honed.
Therefore, the focus of soccer crossing and finishing drills is to:
- Get the attackers in goal scoring positions
- Make the players more confident near the goal
- Score more goals
With that in mind, whenever you set up soccer finishing games, make sure to create a realistic scenario so that the players can perform under the pressure of the actual game.
Best Soccer Shooting, Crossing, and Finishing Drills
Here are some drills that can vastly improve the shooting skills of your players.
1. 1,2 Shoot
This is one of the best soccer finishing drills aimed at improving the players’ shooting accuracy and helping them finish the goal effectively.
- Line the players up starting 9-12 yards out of the penalty area.
- A ball is placed at the feet of the first player in the line.
- One player is given the role of the passer and is positioned on the edge of the penalty box, facing the other players. This player is not given a ball.
- If the goalkeeper is available, appoint them inside the goal.
- The drill starts with the first player in the line passing their ball to the passer positioned on the edge of the penalty box.
- The passer can touch the ball once or twice and lay the ball in any direction, and the player has to run to it and shoot.
- The task of the shooting player is to shoot the ball and score a goal as soon as possible.
- Once a player has completed, the ball is shot back to the next player in the line, and they repeat the whole process.
- The designated passer is switched every 8-10 shots.
- Do this drill for 10-15 minutes or until the goalkeeper needs a rest.
To Make the Drill More Challenging
- Give the players only one touch to complete the drill.
- Ask the players to use different shooting techniques like the inside of the foot, instep, or outside of the foot to complete the drill.
- Emphasize the players to finish the ball instead of just shooting it. Make the players try to put the ball between the goalposts instead of just hitting it the hardest that they can.
- Coach the players to concentrate on keeping their foot strongly planted alongside the ball when they finish.
- Players should keep their eyes on the ball, lock their ankles and aim at the center of the ball for a well-calculated hit.
- The shooting foot of the players should move in the direction of the shot. For optimum accuracy and power, the shooting foot of the player should pass through the shot, and they should land on the shooting foot.
- Stress the players to use one technique throughout the drill and perfect it to use in the game, instead of struggling with different techniques.
2. One-on-One Shootout
This is a shooting and finishing soccer drill that improves shooting skills, as well as defense. Since this drill can be performed by just two players, they can do a lot of repetitions within a short time.
- Divide the team into pairs and give each pair a soccer ball.
- Each pair of players needs to establish a pair of cone gates. The gates, 5-7 yards wide, should face each other and be at a distance of 8-12 yards.
- The width and distance of the gates can be increased or decreased subject to the age and skill level of the players.
- Each player in the pair should position themselves inside the gate, facing the one in the opposite gate.
- One player in each pair has the ball at their feet at the start.
- The drill starts with the player with the ball shooting at the one in front of them to cross the cone gate.
- The other player has to stop the ball from crossing their gate.
- Once the player succeeds in scoring a goal at the opponent’s gate or their shot has been blocked, the opposing player attempts a goal.
- This process continues back and forth for the time you have set for the drill.
- Only the shots below the opponent’s waistline are considered acceptable, and every time a player shoots such a shot across the opponent’s gate, they get a point.
- Players are shuffled every round.
To Make the Drill More Challenging
- Narrow the gates and move them further apart.
- Allow the players to use their hands for blocking to make finishing difficult for the other player.
- Create an environment of healthy competition among the players by assigning goal-scoring targets to them.
- Adjust the distance of the goals and the cones to make the drill appropriate for the age and skill level of the players.
- Give the players instructions on shooting techniques before the drill. Make sure that they use the right technique depending on the distance of the goals.
- Challenge the players to block as many balls as possible, to make scoring difficult for their opponent.
3. Cross and Finish Competition
This soccer crossing and finishing drill are aimed to develop the skills of the players competitively. It improves the crossing accuracy and finishing consistency of the players.
- Set up a full-size goal on one side of the pitch.
- You should have at least one goalkeeper for this drill, but it is recommended to have 2-3 as this is a high-intensity drill.
- Place one cone on either side of the penalty area. Each cone needs to be placed 2-5 yards out of the penalty box and 5-10 yards from the end line. This distance can be increased or decreased.
- Place two cones at the top of the penalty box. These cones need to be 2-3 yards out of the penalty box and 10 yards from each other.
- Divide the players into two teams and give both teams different jersey colors.
- Ask each team to form a line behind one cone on the top of the box.
- Each team should designate 3-5 players as the crossers, and they should be sent to the cones farthest away from their team and should form a line behind the said cone.
- Assign an equal number of soccer balls to the crossers, with one ball being at the feet of each crosser.
- Decide which team will go first.
- On the command of the coach, the first crosser in the line of the first team should take a touch towards the end line, crossing the ball into the box.
- At the moment when the crosser takes the touch, two players from the crosser’s team, positioned at the top of the box, run to take their scoring positions. They will run to the front and back posts, respectively.
- The running players aim to score a goal from their teammate’s cross.
- Once the first team finishes, the other begins their turn. Just like the first team, the crosser of this team (on the other side of the box) will take a touch, and their teammates will run into scoring positions.
- After each team has had a shot, the crossers get back to the crossing line of their team, and the shooters retrieve and pass the shot towards the crossers.
- The teams alternately cross and finish for the duration of the drill.
- The team with the most goals wins at the end of the round.
- Play rounds of 3-5 minutes, and then switch the crossers.
To Make the Drill More Challenging
- Ask the crossers to shuffle crossing angles and distances.
- Crosses can be on the ground or in the air.
- Vary the number of shooters in the game.
- Tell the players to time their run into the box when they charge to score. They need to time the run precisely so that they reach the box when the ball does. Timing the runs is the most important thing for consistent scoring. Players can only help the team score if they are in good scoring positions at the right time.
- Task the crossers with delivering services into the box at consistent angles and distances. Encourage them to try to pick a player and serve the ball into their running path.
- Keep reminding the players that hitting the ball with a powerful swing of the leg is not the right approach. They should use the momentum of their body to deliver the force and direct the ball with a small swing of the leg.
While actual skills can only be imparted to the players with the soccer finishing drills, there are some tips and tricks too that can improve the game of a player.
Soccer Finishing Tips
Educate the players about the following tips that they can use to augment the skills they have learned in the soccer finishing drills.
- Players should concentrate on recognizing their weaknesses and work specifically to improve the areas where they are lacking.
- While finishing a goal, the players must keep their eyes on the goalkeeper to make sure they can assess their reaction as accurately as possible.
- Educate the players to aim at the lower third of the goal when finishing. Most of the players make the mistake of shooting high up, whereas most goals have been scored in the lower third since the game was invented.
- It has been said earlier but needs to be stressed again. The players should focus more on delivering an accurate hit, rather than putting too much power into it without the right technique.
- Encourage the players to be confident on the field. Tell them not to be hesitant and take a shot when they can.
- However, overconfidence is also bad. The players must only take a shot when there is a high probability of scoring.