Finishing and Fitness Exercises

By Chris Kouns
USSF A License (USSF Coaching Education Instructor) – NSCAA Premier Diploma (NSCAA Coaching Education Associate Staff Coach) – Head Women’s Soccer Coach – Georgia Gwinnett College

These activities utilize various methods of physical and mental training combined with finishing repetitions applicable to the game.

Activity 1

Players will begin in one of two lines. The initial line will begin with hurdle jumps and the other line will be a serving line that will perform a wall pass once the initial runner picks up the ball at the mannequin.


Player will begin by performing a two footed jump over the two hurdles. Then they will jog to the flags where they will change pace and sprint (weave) through the flags and out to the mannequin where there will be a ball waiting.

Once they steal (pull) the ball away from the mannequin they will play a wall pass with the player who pops out from the cone at the top of the 18. *The player who plays the wall pass will then drop step and sprint to the end of the first line where they will await their turn to run the course.

After receiving the wall pass at full speed the player on the ball must weave (beat) at least one of the mannequins across the top of the box before finishing.

As soon as the player on the ball strikes it on frame they must immediately sprint from where they took their shot to the cone at the edge of the 6 where they will now join the wall pass line.

Coaching Points:

  • Going through the hurdles and theWCC 14 #1 flags pace should be controlled by the coach. Increase and decrease speed to simulate game conditions.
  • The player checking to the ball for the wall pass should come at an angle and arrive as the ball is prepared to play, not earlier which would draw a
  • When wall pass is played player who receives the ball should slalom through the mannequins as pace to simulate game conditions.
  • Once in the slalom the player should look for first opportunity to finish just as they round a mannequin, don’t try to wait for the perfect ball
  • After taking the strike on goal the player should accelerate quickly to a full sprint to simulate following up on a missed or parried shot.

Activity 2:

Within a group of three “defenders” (i.e. mannequins) players will work on one touch or two touch combinations to refine timing and finishing opportunities.


  1. Player in the top center of the field will play the ball to a player checking in from a wider angle. That player will return the ball to the initial player who will then look to play the deepest player as they pop up in front of the deepest defender. At the same time that player is popping up the player on the other attacking wing will make a slashing run across the face of the defenders and will receive a diagonal ball to run onto for a first time shot or a touch and a finish.
  2. Within this set up you would work from both sides so that players are used to the movements and opportunities that may arise in the game. I highly suggest “labeling” these players so that they will align to the positions your players may be in your given formation. In addition you may also want to mix up the patterns or the number of players in a given area of the field based on your specific attacking tendencies or style.

WCC 14 #2

Coaching Points

  • Before any player receives the ball it is important they check away to create space for them to receive the ball. When they come to the ball from the check there should be an acceleration so they can play the ball on a full sprint.
  • When the player receives the first ball back their initial touch should eliminate the defender. In a real match this will require the other defenders to readjust their position and give you the moment of confusion you need to break them down.
  • When the deepest player pops up in front of the defender make sure they are wide enough that the defender would be forced to make a choice as to going to the ball or taking the player popping out. If you come out too close to the defender the ball will never be able to make it.
  • The slashing player should work to time their run so they cross the path of the ball (as a dummy run if the timing fits) and that will ensure when they appear on the far side of the pattern the defenders will have been focusing on the ball instead of their run.

Activity 3 & 4:

3. Two players will start at the base of a ladder facing the goal. Once through the ladder the first player should receive a ball just as they exit the ladder that will require them to take it on the dribble through the first set of gates. At the same time the player coming through the other ladder will sprint towards the gate where a coach will play a give and go with them and then they will get around the “defender” to show for a ball from the first player. Here too they will receive a wall pass from the first player and play them in for the finishing opportunity.

4. In this activity a player will begin by clearing hurdles and then as soon as the player exits the hurdle a ball will be played to them which they will be forced to play as a wall pass. This action will be followed by weaving through a series of flags where they will then have to focus again getting the ball back just as they leave the flags. At pace they will receive the ball and take on the mannequin defenders, finishing as soon as a chance appears.


  • When going through the speed ladders try to focus on the explosive aspects as you want players to begin thinking in terms of “exploding into the space” where they will be able to finish
  • In the 3rd activity the players should focus on their timing of when to come to the ball and completing their task at full pace and with proper body position (i.e. leading the player just a bit with the ball so they do not have to slow down to receive it.
  • In the 4th activity the player coming through the hurdles will focus on their balance and explosiveness getting through the hurdles.
  • As soon as the last hurdle is cleared player should focus on playing a ball that will be easy to handle but also accelerating past the “defenders” to receive it back for the finishing opportunity.
  • Focus on all movements in terms of explosiveness and reinforce that is the characteristic which will enable them to be most effective around the box.

WCC 14 #3 WCC 14 #4


By Chris Kouns: USSF A License (USSF Coaching Education Instructor) – NSCAA Premier Diploma (NSCAA Coaching Education Associate Staff Coach) – Head Coach Georgia Gwinnet College Women’s Soccer (GA)

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