Shooting from outside the box

This is an exciting shooting session that really gets played in the mood to attack. It’s sometimes assumed that ‘distance’ attacking practices such as this one are just about getting laces behind the ball, but good technique is crucial, particularly with players getting their head over the ball. With that in mind, we say that accuracy comes first, then power.

It sounds simple, but rehearsing attacking sessions is the best and simplest way to build confidence for match situations when players work themselves opportunities to shoot.



Final third
Balls, cones, goals, mannequins (optional)
Number of Players
Up to 12
Session time
20mins per drill, including progressions

What do I get the players to do?

Receive and shoot

We set up by placing two poles five yards outside the penalty area, as shown (1a). The practice uses between six and 12 players, and we require a constant supply of balls as the tempo is high.

In the first practice, an attacker is fed a pass by his diagonally opposite man behind the goal. He takes a touch, which moves him inside the pole, then shoots right-footed. His aim should be to hit the near or far post areas, so accuracy before power (we don’t want players to blast it and hope for the best), and the shot must be taken from outside the box.
The two players now swap roles.


• In Receive and Shoot, the attacker receives the cross-box pass, takes a touch, then shoots at goal

Next, a pass comes in from the player on the other side of the goal (1b). Again, the attacker must come inside the pole, and now it’s a left-footed shot. Again, players change places.


• The simple progression for this is to add a defender, who can close the attacker down as soon as he receives the ball

Turn and shoot

Now we use mannequins, positioned further out from the goal. The server plays in to his team mate, who turns on the mannequin using the outside of his foot, takes the ball forward, then shoots left-footed (2). Once that shot is away, players reset, and the next attack begins from the other side of the pitch.

Players should alternate which foot they use for shooting on each phase.


• In Turn and Shoot, the attacker must spin on the mannequin, take a touch, then fire at goal

How do I progress this game?

There are a number of progressions that can be used to gradually build skill, intensity and urgency. Adding a defender to any of the drills is a great way of making the practice more game realistic, with the centre-forward getting used to being marked and potentially moved around (3).


• The defender’s job is to force the attacker wide, thus narrowing the shooting angle

We can also develop interplay between attackers, restrict touches and permit ‘following in’ for rebound opportunities should the keeper save the initial shot.

We might also consider allowing the two attackers to link up together against the lone defender, but the final shot must always be from outside the box.

What are the key things to look for technically/tactically?

Centre-forwards must look to get the first touch ‘out of their feet’ to ensure the second touch is a shot. Technique is vital and will come with good instruction and good practice, as will the confidence to aim for the corners of the goal.

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