Shooting in tight spaces

Graeme Dell, 29 Aug 2023


This exercise works specifically on players’ finishing. The objective is for players to find the right spaces to take good attempts on target.



  • Create a 5v5 game, including goalkeepers.

  • Mark out a 15x10m playing area inside one half of the court.

  • Divide the playing area into two equally sized zones.

  • Place a goal at either end of the playing area.

  • Mark out two wide channels on either side of the court that end 3m from the touchline.


  • Set up a 3v1 scenario in the first zone and a 1v3 scenario in the second zone.

  • The objective is to create lots of shooting opportunities. In order to achieve this, the attacking team should have a numerical advantage at all times. The attacking team try to capitalise on their numerical advantage in the first zone to create shooting opportunities. 


  • Variation 1: when playing the ball into the pivot, the player who passed the ball can enter the attacking half to support the attack.

  • Variation 2: increase the length of the playing area by moving the goal back to the halfway line.

  • Variation 3: one player can enter the attacking half to create a 2v3 scenario.

  • Variation 4: increase the width of the playing area. Attacking players can occupy the wide channels unopposed for four seconds and can shoot from inside this area.

Coaching points

  • The focus is on registering as many shots on target as possible, even though this may result in the team losing possession for a short period.

  • The lone attacker has to adopt an opportunistic mindset at all times and be prepared for rebounds and to operate as a pivot. 

  • Players must quickly identify when they are in shooting positions rather than shooting aimlessly from impossible angles.

  • The following actions should be at the forefront of players’ intentions: shoot, move to shoot or pass to shoot.

  • Keeping one eye on where the goal is at all times enables players to record more shots on target.

  • Excellent movement and positioning prior to the pass being played can help to create clearer passing lines. 

  • Retaining possession and trying to score are the main objectives for the in-possession team.

  • Patience is required to engineer shooting opportunities that offer a high probability of scoring.

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