Passing and shooting

One of the keys elements of finishing in soccer is accuracy. Power is nice, but it’s a distant second in priority. In the past, I have always stressed the need for shooting with the instep. Though, I don’t want to downgrade the importance of this technique, I am starting to believe it is more meaningful to emphasize first and foremost accuracy by “passing” the ball into the goal. Power can be trained later after the player understands a slow roller into the goal is worth more than a rocket shot not on frame.

Warm up — Set up two lines (of 1 to 2 players), six to eight yards apart (goal post width); these two lines are directly across from two other lines of players; the distance between the sets of two lines are ten to fifteen yards (coach should adjust to player age and ability).

A2                     C2 A1                     C1               B1                    D1 B2                      D2

A1 passes straight across to B1 and follows the pass to the B line; B1 receives, makes an angled pass to C1 and follows pass to C line; C1 receives, makes a straight ahead pass to D1 and follows pass to D line; D1 makes an angled pass to A2, etc.

Warm-up Progression

  • Ask players to pass with specified foot
  • Restrict number of touches to control ball before making next pass
  • Switch to an instep pass, if accuracy can be maintained
  • At some point, have the team envision that each line is a goal post; the straight ahead passes are to the near post, the angled passes are to the far post
  • Ask the players to pass to the inside foot of the receiving player (i.e., inside the post)

Warm-up Coaching Points:

  • Ensure the inside of the foot is used to pass (as this normally is the most accurate type of pass for a player)
  • Play should be continuous, have extra balls ready between groups A & C and groups B & D. Bad passes can be chased down by the passer while the next player puts a new ball back into play
  • Make sure receptions are toward the target

Shooting Drill:

Setup — Structure the drill exactly like the warm-up, except with a goal between groups A and C. When A passes to B, B finishes with an angled pass to the far post; when C passes to D, D finishes with an angled pass to his/her far post.

Drill Progression: 

  • Change drill so that A passes across to D who finishes (to the near post) with a straight on pass; C passes across to D who finishes with a straight on pass
  • Restrict number of touches before shot
  • Use instep (if accuracy can be maintained)
  • Add a GK; initially position the GK away from the post the players will be shooting; that is, the GK should be shaded toward the side that makes the initial pass
  • Let the GK be active and allow the attacker to finish to the appropriate post and appropriate part of foot

Drill Coaching Points:

  • Stress accuracy, not power, constantly
  • The position of body and support foot should be towards the finishing point
  • Have player look up to side of goal they are finishing; when GK added, player should look to near post, if not covered shoot there, else go to far post (do not look at or try to find the GK)
  • Make sure player is looking at the ball at the point when the shot is taken
  • Team and coaches should reinforce every made goal with some kind of positive exaltation; save the loudest for the accurate goal as the power shot will get its fair share of “oohs” and “aaahs.”