Getting Behind to Finish

By Sean Pearson

Area Size: 46 x 38 Yards

Time: 20 mins

Players: 7 v 7


  • To make runs behind the defense from different angles
  • To make quick decisions when finishing with 1st time shots


Three zones divide the field into 3 sections. There is 6v6 in the middle zone with 4 players in the middle and 2 from each team on the outside in the attacking area to act like wingers. Only the goalkeeper is in the end zone.


This exercise is for teams who struggle with their players who want to either walk the ball into the goal or wait until the perfect moment to shoot. Either scenario is not ideal as the other team’s job is to stop both from happening. Now, if you ever play a much weaker opponent this may be enough, however to develop your players you should be playing teams who are roughly your level if not slightly better.

With even competition comes a challenge to score, one thing you need to have as a player is mental strength as it is not easy to continually overcome missing chances in the aim to score the next chance, but it is what makes great goal scorers great. It’s the mentality of not fearing the miss but the need to score and part of that is shooting when the opportunity is not always perfect.

This activity focuses on shooting with a 1 touch finish rather than take too many touches so the chance disappears, it also encourages players not to rely on perfect scenarios that rarely ever happen in a game, if ever.

The offside line is the line across that separates the end zone from the middle area. Players look to pass into the end zone and the receiving player has to shoot 1st time. Players can play directly into the end zone or use the wide players to do so. You want the pass to be central so the players shooting has a better angle to score from.

So as to vary the recipient who enters the end zone the wide player can make an out to in run behind a defender. Because of the angle of their run and the pass the shot in this instance should aim to curl around the goalkeeper.

Not all passes into the end zone need to be on the ground. When players have the ball and are one side of the middle area with all players moving towards the ball, the opposite winger can make a run into the end zone while the player on the ball plays a long diagonal ball over everybody, again the winger receiving the ball shoots 1st time with either a head or volley.

You can also encourage players to run from deep and run beyond the striker. To advance the activity and challenge the player shooting you can allow 1 defender into the end zone.

If the defender manages to win possession from the turning player, they pass to a player in the end zone and the play resumes but with the teams changing roles.


  • Allow 2 attackers 1 defender in the end zone then 2v2
  • Allow shots from the middle zone if the opportunity arises
  • Play with 6v6 in the middle zone and no players on the outside

By Sean Pearson. Sean is also the author Coaching Team Shape in the 3-3-1, Coaching Team Shape in the 4-2-3-1 and Coaching Team Shape in the 4-3-3

About the Author Tom Mura

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