This session is mainly for attacking players but remains important for defenders who can take something from it as well. It’s ideally an afternoon session – 45 minutes maximum – focusing on producing an ‘end product’ to an attack.
Individuals need to be good at what they are judged on and scoring goals is vital for attacking players. Strikers especially love to have bespoke sessions geared for them to score goals, and in their mindset need to get a shot off with minimum fuss accompanied by the confidence that they will hit the target.
The ratio of shots in this session is high compared to a game so players must be focused with every attempt they have. A key point is its simplicity, so players work on the final outcome without too much tactical play beforehand.
This session can be broken down and each section used on its own if time is scarce between games. It can be progressed this way so each part is a step up on intensity and competitiveness.
Up to 44×36 yards
Balls, bibs, cones, goals, mannequins
Number of Players
45mins (excluding warm-up)
What do I get the players to do?
Two-touch finishing – unopposed (1)
In the first practice the receiving attacker takes the ball from the coach, takes a first touch to turn or take on the mannequin, then shoots, making sure to follow in on any rebounds.
This will be a competition format between two teams, one from each side.
1. The coach feeds the ball in
2. The player takes a touch to move the ball away from the mannequin (acting as a passive defender)
3. He shoots and scores past the keeper
Two-touch finishing – opposed (2)
It’s important to bring in opposition players in order to recreate the pressure strikers will be put under in match day scenarios.
So with that in mind the first touch now from the defender is to set up the attack and show that player away from his opponent. We want to see a speedy second touch as well as the defender closing in to press. He must be careful not to sell himself but be ready to put his body on the line. The practice is very intensive so needs to take the form of short bursts of action (45-60secs maximum), and we want to ensure we give attackers a set number of shots using both left and right feet.
To make it competitive, a forfeit for the losing team is a good incentive. If attackers score a set number of goals (say, five) they win; if defenders concede fewer than that number, they are the victors.
1. The defender sets the ball to the striker
2. He then presses looking to close down the space
3. The striker moves the ball away from the defender
4. He creates an angle to shoot at goal and sends the ball past the keeper
How do I progress the session?
To progress, players will have to react to the delivery of the ball from the coach, adapting their positions accordingly. We want to see good awareness of what is ‘on’ and an instinct to either set up a team mate or get a shot off.
What are the key things to look out for?
Attackers need to stay composed and use the techniques practised. Remaining calm in front of goal is a major quality required in being a regular goalscorer.
We also constantly remind players how important it is to hit the target, especially with team mates close by to take on any rebounds.
For defenders, it’s vital to be quick across the ground and ready to commit to a block without selling themselves or giving away a penalty. Controlled aggression is needed as well as pride in keeping the ball out of the goal.
In terms of mistakes, as soon as it becomes competitive, players will often lose their composure. This is one of the main coaching points during this session, with technique and decision-making vital in scoring goals.
5v2 – one-touch (3a/3b)
In the 5v2 strikers get a shot off or set up a chance for a team mate. Defenders close down without selling themselves and this is again 45-60 seconds per round in a competition format.
1. The first ball is played to the attacker
2. The defender moves in to press
3. The attacker gets his shot away
4. Now a second, longer ball is fed in
5. The defender is slow to react
6. The attacker positions himself well to score in the goal
How would you put this into a game situation?
Finishing 5v5 (4)
Finally we move into a 5v5 two-way game with all players involved. Using a double box with a 3v2 in each, attacks are at high tempo.
Attackers have 10 seconds to score once they have received the ball. If defenders win the ball back they can feed their strikers quickly, or when the attack is dead the keeper starts the next play.
A player receiving the ball from the keeper must shoot or combine with team mates and score within 10 seconds. When receiving he must be aware of the position of defenders, and is looking to take advantage of the overload quickly.
1. The keeper releases the ball into the opposition half
2. The attacker has a 3v2 overload in his advantage
3. He draws the defender and crosses
4. The attacker in the middle scores with ease