Finishing 1 vs 1 against the goalkeeper
The great goal scorers in history are by definition great “finishers.” Players who have mastered the art of finishing, and it is an art, have a distinct calmness about them. Seldom is the ball shot at maximum speed. Rather, these finishers have a very clear vision of the choices available to them anywhere near the goal. Their modus operandi is to evaluate the situation, make a decision and then execute the finish calmly. Accuracy is much more important than power.
A situation that arises frequently in games is the 1 vs 1 with a forward against the goalkeeper. A good keeper can make things very difficult for the forward and scoring is not easy. But how many times do you see instances where the chance is missed because the forward does not seem to make a good decision, especially in youth games. Many times this is because the players do not have a clear picture of the options available to them and how that changes as a function of the decisions the goalkeeper makes. Without a clear picture of what to do in different situations (e.g. if the goalkeeper goes to ground go around them or dink it over them) finishing 1 vs 1 will be little better than a lottery. This seems to be coached very little given it’s importance and how frequently it occurs.
In the three videos that follow Tracey Kevins coaches the 1 vs 1 with the goalkeeper. With a firm emphasis on decision making and a keen eye for detail, Tracey takes the forwards though the options available and what they might think about in each situation.
Tracey covers the following areas:
- Let the goalkeeper’s actions determine the finish you choose.
- What to do it the goalkeeper goes to ground.
- What to do if the goalkeeper is still moving and not “set.”
- Changing the angle as you approach the goal to allow you to see more of the net and move the goalkeeper.
- Eliminating a defender with the first touch.
- Does the forward strike for goal or does it make more sense to play a supporting player for a tap in.
The session progresses from:
- An unopposed finish
- To a possession game centrally where a player can go to goal unopposed.
- The attacker is now tracked by one defender.
- A midfielder runner can support the forward and can be tracked by one defender.
The video here represents the main body of the session and not the warm up or the final game.
Tracey is currently the Technical Director at the Seattle Reign Academy.
Kevins holds an UEFA A license and has over 10 years of coaching experience at the highest levels of professional, international and youth soccer. Kevins was appointed manager of Barnet FC Ladies in February 2004 after previously serving the club since 1989 as a player, captain, and as reserve team manager. In her tenure as first-team manager, Tracey won eleven trophies, reached two FA Women’s Cup Semi-Finals and won the FA Women’s Premier League Cup in 2011.
From 2005 through 2012, Kevins worked for the English FA as an England women’s youth coach, where she worked at the the U15, U17, U19 and U23 ages levels. Kevins was recipient of English FA Coach of the Year in 2010 and twice nominated for FA Elite Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2014.
Kevins departed Barnet FC Ladies in 2013 to join USL W-League side LA Strikers FC as their head coach. Kevins lead the LA Strikers to the Western Conference play-offs in her first season, compiling an 8-4-0 record. In 2014, in conjunction with the merger of LA Strikers FC and the Pali Blues, Kevins became Technical Director of the LA Blues. The LA Blues achieved a 15-0-0 record and captured the W-League National Championship in 2014.
Recommended reading for finishing: