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Finishing Drill: Name a Pocket


One of the big problems with many drills is they simply allow players to reinforce bad habits, without time for a coach to assess problems and offer corrective advice. Name a Pocket enables to the coach to monitor each individual's technique and encourage clean striking of the ball, essential to maximizing power and accuracy.

Line up a series of balls level with the penalty spot and roughly in front of the goal. Nominate a goalkeeper and then split the remaining players in two groups. One group (who hopefully won't be needed much!) stand behind the goal line either side to retrieve stray shots. The second group - the shooters- line up on the edge of the penalty area to the left of the balls, and the coach stands five yards along the line from the ball furthest to the right.

At his whistle the first player in the second group calls a "pocket" as though the goal were a pool table - top right, bottom right etc. That player then approaches the ball nearest the coach and shoots, aiming for the spot he has nominated. The keeper isn't allowed to move prior to the ball being struck, so at this range a firm shot that hits the "pocket" should be a goal.

As a coach watch that the standing leg is planted firmly alongside the ball before shooting, the kicking leg should flow evenly through the ball, straightening during impact with the top of the players laces hitting the center of the ball. The player's center of gravity should be ever so slightly off balance away from the ball with the far arm extended to counter this lean.

Once the second group have each completed a shot, the first group take their turn. The drill can then be repeated with the coach standing to the left this time, and players running from the right to strike the ball with their left boot. After running this drill a few times every player in your squad should have a reasonable level of confidence in front of goal, and the drill can then form a regular part of training for forwards and midfield players.

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