What Is The Difference Between Shooting And Finishing?

What is the difference between shooting and finishing? Let's look at it this way - a player can shoot the ball well but may not necessarily be a good finisher.

The key is having a great repertoire of shots and to have the ability to use the right weapon at the right time. This is the difference between shooting and finishing, and it is crucial that players learn finishing rather than just learning to shoot the ball hard. Don't get me wrong, there is a time for learning the proper techniques to shoot, bend, and dip the ball, but the most important thing is for players to experience game-like situations where they learn the art of finishing.

It is very important that players focus on their technique and first touch to build confidence, as it is key to understanding how to make space for their shot. Although good finishers are usually a little greedy, they do need to know how to combine with their teammates. They need to know how to find space, time runs, and get into good spots to get their shot off.

Players often times become better at shooting before fishing because anyone can practice shooting on your own. This is another reason you don’t see to many clinical fishers. It’s hard to get the right amount of proper reps for the skill to soak in. 


Finishing is where you are working up close to the goal and most of the chances are from balls crossed (passed) in. Shooting is when you usually are taking a long shot and many times are not successful in scoring. Finishing is plain and simple, you finish (score a goal). Shooting is more like a “I hope it goes in.” 


With finishing you have to have someone cross the ball or you have to be creative and use a wall or rebounder to be able to get the service needed. A small space with four directions of rebound gives you a ton of passes and traps, and you can work on redirecting and turning. Work on your 1-and 2- touch redirecting passes which WILL also make you BETTER at FINISHING. 


If you could have one or the other what would you want for the team you support? A Shooter or a Finisher? Exactly! You want a Finisher because finishers score goals and shooters kick the ball into the parking lot! I’m not saying shooting is not important! I just wanted you to think about the question and realize they are very different skills and both take lots of practice. If I had to pick one to practice it would be finishing over shooting because most players know how to hit a ball with power but not too many are clinical at finishing 1-touch on goal from a cross outside the corner of the 18 yard box.


Just as the name suggests – it is finishing the play by scoring a goal. The ball goes into the net. So when we do finishing drills through repetition most of the balls hit the net. The best way to get good at this is repetition. Any sports fan, coach or player will tell you that to improve you have to do repetitions. Remember: the penalty area is 12 yards from the goal & 75% of goals are scored between the penalty spot and the 6 yard box. So working on drills inside the 6 and the PK spot are going to be more successful in practice and in games than outside the penalty area & especially outside the 18. 

With finishing it’s difficult because you cannot get reps by yourself as easy as free kicks & dead ball situations. In training, this requires shooting, scoring and working from 6-12 yards away from goal, focusing on proper technique with high reps. Players need to spend some time trying to be near-perfect in  front of the goal during practices so that they not only build their technique and completions but they build their confidence. 


Both shooting and finishing in soccer are different and to improve you must work, be patient and really want to accept the tough challenges. There are certain soccer drills that you should continue to work on all the time

The difference is that shooting can be used to test the opposing team’s goalie, defenders, and identify weak spots in both. Also you need to be able to test the goalie from distance for different reasons. If you don’t have any players who can shoot from distance it will be hard to keep the defense honest and tight in their marking. Defenders would just “park the bus” and not allow you to have any good chances inside the box. 

Finishing requires practice and many reps and different styles. You never know if the ball will come in skipping, bouncing, high, low, hard or soft. To improve in this it’s much harder then practicing shooting because with shooting you can train on your own. With finishing you need someone to deliver balls in for you. Shooting and finishing in soccer both give you ways to score goals, but they are very much different. 

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