Finishing In Tight Spaces

The following article is an excerpt from the October issue of Amplified Soccer Athlete magazine. Content contributions come from some of the top professional training, nutrition, mental-game and fitness leaders in the industry. We know you’ll enjoy your experience. Subscribe Today!


Getting a shot off in tight space is dependent upon two primary aspects. First, you have to be able to create space…not a lot of space, but enough space to open up clear striking lanes between defenders. Second, you need to be able to quickly reposition your body (around the ball) into positions of power. Although this might not seem like much, it’s easier said than done.

Creating Space: 

In this article we want to first look at creating space. When you are in a forward attack, you want to keep things simple. Using complex moves, fakes and combinations takes time, and as defenders close in on you, time is one thing you do not have. Simple inside or outside touches will often create just enough space while still allowing you to move at speed as you attack. The key is to keep the ball close to your body as you perform simple touches that allow you to change pace and create space without sacrificing rhythm or body control. 

Here’s a drill we use that incorporates a quick pullback hesitation to an inside-inside diagonal cut. Notice in the video how the player keeps the ball close to her body, and is in a position to strike whenever she sees space. In this drill, she has several options… 1) she can attack straight forward to finish, 2) she can use an inside touch to get the ball to her opposite foot, 3) she can use a pullback if the defender reaches in, followed by a space creating inside touch to separate, and 4) she can use the pullback to inside-inside combination to push the defender wide then cut back to her strong foot and finish.

Having options leads to success. If a drill only provides one option, and that doesn’t work, the attack is unsuccessful. If you create drills that have multiple options off one pattern, you now have introduced decision making skill into the drill and will have more opportunity for success.

Get the rest of this article in the October issue of Amplified Soccer Athlete. This issue also includes features on different opportunities for athletes to continue their playing career after college with semi-professional and amateur leagues around the country as well as fitness, ball control and strength training programs.Subscribe Today!


Check out the Wall Passing Developmental Workout program from AthleteFIT which combines athletic balance, ball control and passing drills (from the SoccerFIT Skills Manual) into 2 wall passing workouts you can do almost anywhere. No need for a partner, just some open space and a wall to kick against. This is the first program from our passing series, focusing on confident first touch, quick repositioning, and combinations that will lead into attacking and finishing drills. This program is designed to be viewed from your phone or tablet, and each exercise is linked to video for quick reference during your workouts. Get the full program now