Best Small-Sided Game Competition

Earlier this year we held a competition where coaches could submit their favorite “Shooting and Finishing” drill.  We had some great entries and even compiled all of them into an eBook that we gave away free.  If you don’t have it, you can get it here.  I have also posted the winning drill below which focuses on one-touch shooting.

New Competition
Because we had such a good response, we have now launched another competition.  Simply enter your favorite small-sided game and you will be entered to win $200 of books or DVDsClick here for full details.

Shooting Competition – First Time Shooting

One of the most difficult techniques to acquire is that of the ability to shoot first time and none more so than for the younger players.

In their eagerness to score then very often they will either ‘snatch’ their shot and / or, forget the correct techniques.

Statistics show that a greater percentage of LOW shots result in goals than that of shots aimed HIGH.

Unfortunately, when players ’SNATCH’ their shots then usually they will
A)   kick through the middle / bottom half of the ball and B) lean back at the point of impact.    In both instances this will cause the ball to rise.


  • Approach the ball from the SIDE and not directly HEAD ON.
  • Approaching the ball, look up to see the position of the goal keeper.
  • Just as you are about to shoot, look down at the ball and on the point of impact
  • keep the head still and over the ball, lock the ankle,  toes pointing down and
  • heel raised.
  • Kick with the laced part of  the cleat through the middle / top half of the ball and follow through so that the kicking foot is pointing in the direction of the flight of the ball.


Players line up as per diagram.


Player 1 passes the ball forward to centre of area.
Player 4 approaches the ball from the side NOT straight on
to shoot  FIRST TIME.
Players 1 and 4 now move to the back of their respective lines,


Player 10 passes the ball forward to centre of the area.
Player   7 approaches the ball from the side, NOT straight on to shoot first time.
Players 10 and 7 now move to the back of the line.


Proceed the same rotation until Players 4 5 6 and 7 8 9 have EACH taken SIX shots.

Now switch the format so that Players 1 2 3 and 10 11 12 are now the strikers and Players 4 5 6 and 7 8 9  are the passers.


It is ESSENTIAL that there is COMMUNICATION between the passers and
strikers at all times.


Obviously, to develop the correct techniques for first time shooting but equally important, the drill eliminates the long lines of players waiting to take a shot.

The constant rotation means that a) 12 players PLUS two goal keepers are
participating and that the time between passing / shooting and resting is
relatively a short one.

In a real game situation and more often than not, the striker will be challenged
by an opposing player in an attempt to either BLOCK the shot or, to reduce the ANGLE  for the striker to shoot at.


The layout and movement are identical as to the previous one EXCEPT that now
the PASSER follows his pass in an attempt to either BLOCK the shot OR,
NARROW the angle in which the striker has to shoot at.

At first, instruct the passer NOT to SPRINT forward but to jog in order to provide
a PASSIVE resistance to the striker.   As the confidence of the striker increases then increase the pace of the passer.

Posted in Drills & Exercises | Tagged , | 1 Comment

One response to “Best Small-Sided Game Competition”

  1. Rob Ross says:

    Nice drill. I find it interesting that we are teaching approach ball from the side only? I teach both a swerve and a straight ball technique. Straight on shot is a very effective ability to strike on a laser straight line or slightly tailing shot and you see it used at all levels but rarely taught as a fundamental. Place two defenders in front of you and try to hit from the side between the two of them. Now try it with a straight on approach. In my opinion, yes this is all only opinion, both techniques, swerve and straight should be taught, especilly for this drill when it makes sense not to bend the attacker run to get a side only approach. FYI, I’ve been coaching soccer for 9 years and have rarely seen articles on the different strikes of the ball. I found the information in a video series from
    I’ve enjoyed the video series and have seen positive results with my teams using the techniques that are taught. I also teach my players to look up and find the open space at the corner of the net and NOT look at the keeper. Many of the balls I see shot on goal go straight to or near the keeper. I think this is due to our amazing ability to see a target and the body will instinctively find that target. If we look at someone, we can throw or kick a ball right to them. Now try to look at them and throw or kick to a nearby target. The brain has been taught to go where you’re looking and it is difficult to un-train your brain. Better to use the amazing ability given to us and create a target in the corner of the net. Look to the corner I say!! Regards,
    Keep up the great work!! Rob

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