Finishing in Soccer and How it’s Different from Shooting

Finishing in soccer is a difficult thing to do. Not all players excel at scoring goals from inside the penalty box, but strikers and other forward positions should practice finishing. What is finishing, and how is it different from shooting?

Finishing is the result of a buildup play that ends with a goal from inside or on the edge of the penalty area. It’s different from shooting in soccer because shots can come from anywhere on the field, whereas finishing generally occurs close to the goal, often from a one-touch shot.

Throughout this article, I’ll explain exactly what finishing is in soccer and discuss the primary differences between finishing and shooting.

What does finishing mean in soccer?

Soccer is artful, but finishing intensifies its beauty. There’s nothing like watching a world-class finisher put the ball in the back of the net after dribbling through a slew of defenders, dancing their way into the penalty area.

What is finishing, and what does it mean to finish the ball?

Finishing is when a player scores during the run of play, generally from inside the penalty area within 18 yards of the center of the goal. Strikers, wingers, other forwards, and some midfielders excel at scoring from shorter distances. Players in these positions practice finishing during training to score goals during games.

Forwards, particularly strikers, are the most affluent finishers on the field. They are entirely aware of their surroundings and have a knack for putting the ball in the back of the net.

A striker’s goal is to, well, score goals. Some formations, like the 4-5-1, see the striker as a target player, bouncing inbound passes back to supporting midfielders, at which point they make a run toward the goal.

Strikers in this formation are particularly excellent finishers because of how often they get the ball in front of the net from crosses or passes played through the back line.

The idea of finishing implies that there was buildup play that was finished by a goal. These types of goals usually come from inside the penalty area and are often scored with finesse rather than power.

Most buildup play results in crosses into the box or through balls played through the defense. Some buildup plays result in goals from outside the 18-yard box, but goals scored from this distance are classified simply as a shot.

Shots 25 yards or further from the center of the goal are considered long shots and require a high level of skill to score from.

How do you practice finishing in soccer?

Finishing is something that forwards constantly work on. The best finishers in the world practice it during every training session. How do you practice finishing in soccer?

Practice finishing in soccer alone or independently using finishing drills. Simulating game scenarios during training with fast-paced ball movement resulting in a close-range shot on a goal is the best way to practice finishing. Develop finishing skills with passing drills that end with crosses into the box or through balls toward the goal.

There are plenty of ways to practice finishing. Shooting on a goal is the best way to practice it. Set a starting point with a cone or another piece of equipment, and dribble into the penalty area before finishing on the net.

The difference between shooting and finishing in soccer

Finishing and shooting are different in soccer. Finishing is a distinct type of shot from inside the penalty area.

The difference between shooting and finishing in soccer is that finishing occurs at the end of buildup play and generally occurs inside the penalty area. Shooting in soccer can happen from anywhere at any time. Finishing is a type of goal from a shot or header inside the box, but shooting happens from 18 yards away or further.

These are not strict terms. Some people will argue that shooting and finishing are the same. It’s safe to say that finishing is a type of shooting and that not every shot is considered a finish.


Shooting in soccer is different from finishing. Not all shots can be classified as a finish.

Shooting in soccer differs from finishing in that shots can be taken outside the penalty area. Someone excellent at shooting might not be the best finisher because they can score from a distance but not up close.

In short, the main difference is the distance from the net where the shot occurred and whether it resulted from a buildup play or, rather, a pop-up opportunity.


Finishing is the skill of scoring close-range goals, usually from up close or even in clutch situations.

Finishing happens inside the penalty area from buildup play; a team strings together multiple passes that end in a cross into or around the box or a through ball toward the net for someone to run onto. A finish is a resulting goal from this run of play.

Finishing in soccer is different because of how the goal is scored; inside the 18-yard box during the run of play. Shots from outside the area are not typically classified as finishes.

Strikers are the primary finishers on a soccer team and should practice their finishing and scoring techniques during technical training sessions.

Sean Tinney

I’m Sean Tinney, a lifetime soccer player and Ball At Your Feet owner. This website is a hub for practical soccer advice, information, and insights from one player to another.

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