Understanding the Practice
The fast finishing practice is designed to assist players with close range, fast finishing inside the penalty box. The practice utilises realistic pitch geography and overloads in favour of the attacking team to create high repetition of goal scoring opportunities in a small sided game structure.
The practice can be used with players of almost any age but is particularly valuable for those age 10+.
About the Video
In the video below, UEFA A licensed coach, Dave Wright demonstrates the practice with a group of U23 players. The players range from 16 – 22 years old and play men’s football. Dave initially uses the full width of the penalty box (44 yards) but adjusts this on the run to speed the game up.
The game features 3 teams of 4 players + 2 goalkeepers. However, you could run this practice with teams of anywhere between 2 and 7 players per team if you had small or large groups.
If you had uneven numbers you could include a “common player” or “magic man” who would play for the team in possession, or if you were one player short of even teams (e.g. 2 x teams of 5 and 1 x team of 4) simply leave two players in who constantly play for the teams in the middle, and maintain 4 bounce players only. This scenario presents an opportunity for a position specific focus where the two ‘constant’ players could be strikers, allowing them more opportunity to work on goal scoring.
Adjust the space accordingly and remember, a smaller space will lead to a faster but possibly more difficult game.
Players on the outside of the area can have their number of touches restricted to encourage quick play, and they can be tackled by players on the inside.
The video demonstrates a range of coaching interventions and communication styles. And finally, this session is also an example of a practice where the ball rolls for a significant percentage of the session and Dave doesn’t need to stop the practice and give explicit instruction.
Topic: Combination Play & Finishing
No. of Players: 8 – 23
Practice Type: Small Sided Game
Pitch Size: 44 x 36
Timing: 20-40 minutes
Age Group: 10+
Interpreting the Diagrams
The key below outlines what the images mean on the diagrams.
If you have questions about the practices, contact the PDP Team or share your views on the Player Development Project Slack Community.
Key For Diagrams
In possession, players are working on quick passing, combination play, cutbacks and crosses. The aim here is to play with speed, create quickly and convert off one or two touches. Out of possession, the focus is on desire to defend, defending outnumbered and defending in and around the penalty box. Anticipation of crosses and passes and quick decisions when securing the ball.
3 teams plus 2 goalkeepers work in an age appropriate area. Adjust the width of the area based on the desired outcomes (narrower equals a faster game, but less crossing). The objective is to work on close range, fast finishing inside the penalty area. Team in possession (red) are trying to score with the support of outside players (yellow). The yellow players can be restricted to limited touches depending on their ability. The aim is to exploit overloads to create goalscoring opportunities inside the penalty box. If blue win the ball, they attack the opposite goal with the support of yellow players. Teams play in 3 minute sets. This session can be set up like a tournament.
Observations & Interventions
What you might see
- Bounce players playing slowly or taking too many touches Players shooting from distance
- Players not showing confidence to shoot
Actions you might take
- Limit bounce players to 2 touch (to speed up play)
- Restrict players to only score inside the opposition penalty area (close range) Encourage players to be confident in front of goal
Adaptations: Is the session too easy?
- Make the space smaller and therefore easier to defend
Is the session too hard?
- Make the space bigger
- Allow bounce players an extra touch (E.g. 3 or 4 touch)