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Fast, 1st Time Finishing Games

Updated: May 6

In this week's MSC Breakdown we look at an element of finishing that is often overlooked. Although statistical data would show that the majority of goals at the highest level are scored from a first-time finish, replicating that skill on the training pitch can be a little bit of a challenge. Sometimes traditional shooting drills fail to present the same type of quick-thinking required for an attacking player in a game. In this breakdown we look at a games-based approach to first time finishes where we also aim to add an element of variety to the type of finish.  If you would like more positional support with your attackers, please check out our new MSC Positional Training ebook, a video PowerPoint that includes over 30 exercises, all split into positional categories, the exercises in this presentation are easily adapted to offer players different pictures, experiences and challenges. Click here to get your copy.


Below is a YouTube breakdown detailing three exercises. If you enjoy this content, please subscribe to our MSC YouTube page.



Please find the information and dimensions for all the exercises below:


6v6+6 Finishing Game



  • Eighteen players organized into three teams of six plus two goalkeepers

  • Game takes place in a 30x20 yard area

  • Two teams start at 6v6 with third team on the perimeter

  • Perimeter players limited to one touch and two are located on each goal line

  • Conditions of the game: Unlimited touches in the middle but goal has to be scored with one touch finish

  • Neutral players alongside the goal should replicate box cross situations that can occur in a game




3v3 Quickfire Game




  • Twelve players organized into four teams of three players plus one goalkeeper

  • Two teams start in the middle (one attacking and one defending)

  • Perimeter players organized around the box with two balls each and each given a number

  • Coach calls number and perimeter player passes into attacking team

  • Unlimited touches in the box but goal has to be scored with one touch finish

  • Angle of the pass from perimeter should create a situation where attackers are supporting underneath players to look for first-time finishes

  • Twelve balls total - then teams rotate






4v2 Through Ball Finish



  • Seven players plus a goalkeeper are organized into a 10x10 yard square located 25 yards from the goal

  • Teams organized into five attackers and two defenders

  • Game starts with one attacker passing into the 4v2 square

  • After four consecutive passes from the attacking team, they can release an attacker into a 1v1 goalscoring chance with the goalkeeper to beat

  • Finish must be first time and attacker cannot stand ahead and wait for the ball so timing of the runs are important

  • As attacker is finishing, the server dribbles a ball in and the game flows again

  • Play for 3 minutes total and then rotate players





If you enjoy this breakdown, please check out our MSC eBook:Twenty Attacking Training Sessions, designed to help coaches connect the dots between philosophy, tactical flexibility and session design. The book contains twenty full session plans that are broken down into three phases: build-up, midfield progression, and goal-scoring. Each session will contain three exercises so there are 60 exercises overall! With his experience in the professional game as a coach and an analyst, Gary Curneen has designed these sessions to help bring out intensity, tactical understanding and game-like situations, that are enjoyable for both players and staff. Click here to get your copy.


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