1-touch finishing: a dying art form.

Fortitude

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The amount of times players want that second touch to finish instead of taking the shot on first time.

Sure, if you can set yourself off the first touch, the second is more likely to be a conversion, but if you flub the first, you've most likely squandered the opportunity entirely, with the defenders then having time to collect the ball or put in the block that was never on with a 1st time attempt.

Are you in favour of 1st-time finishing attempts, or is the cushion, set, shoot method more for you?
 

Borninthe80ts

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It’s one of my favourite types of finishes in football. When we’re we’re at our best under Ferguson we scored these goals for fun.

I always used to see it as a sign that the team is dominant in possession and controlling the game when we can work the ball in and around the box with enough time to create these type of chances.

I do think there is less space and time for players to attempt these types of goals as tactics have developed but there is an element of players not wanting to waste the ball too for me.
 

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It’s one of my favourite types of finishes in football. When we’re we’re at our best under Ferguson we scored these goals for fun.

I always used to see it as a sign that the team is dominant in possession and controlling the game when we can work the ball in and around the box with enough time to create these type of chances.

I do think there is less space and time for players to attempt these types of goals as tactics have developed but there is an element of players not wanting to waste the ball too for me.
Shouldn't less space and time be a reason to try more one-touch finishes? So I don't think that's a good explanation. But I do agree that probably a better attacking/controlling team has it easier to play balls that are good enough to be converted by a single touch. Worse passes need more effort to control them first.
 

OL29

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Didn’t Van Gaal used to discourage our players from doing this? I remember him jokingly chastising Hererra for it against Villa I think when he scored a brace. I think it’s just another symptom of players being over coached and being discouraged from playing off instinct.
 

Borninthe80ts

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Shouldn't less space and time be a reason to try more one-touch finishes? So I don't think that's a good explanation. But I do agree that probably a better attacking/controlling team has it easier to play balls that are good enough to be converted by a single touch. Worse passes need more effort to control them first.
For me the first time finish isn’t always about the need to finish in a hurry, but more that the player is in a comfortable position to finish the opportunity first time. With less space the comfort level falls thus for me less chances to finish in this way. Just an opinion though.
 

11101

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It's a confidence thing as well. Our players want the extra touch to get the ball set up just perfect for them.

Hojlund has had a few first time strikes though I can't think if he's scored any of them.
 

Jev

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Didn’t Van Gaal used to discourage our players from doing this? I remember him jokingly chastising Hererra for it against Villa I think when he scored a brace. I think it’s just another symptom of players being over coached and being discouraged from playing off instinct.
Yep, I believe our players were banned from shooting with their first touch under van Gaal.
 

Oranges038

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Bruno had one last night, took a touch and fluffed it. Rodri in the same position, swept one in first time with no fuss the other night.

Personally, I think it's the quality of the pass that determines whether or not you can hit it first time, the weight, the spin, the angle it's played at are all determining factors. Utd players do not play passes that are conducive to players hitting first time shots.
 

Borninthe80ts

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Bruno had one last night, took a touch and fluffed it. Rodri in the same position, swept one in first time with no fuss the other night.

Personally, I think it's the quality of the pass that determines whether or not you can hit it first time, the weight, the spin, the angle it's played at are all determining factors. Utd players do not play passes that are conducive to players hitting first time shots.
I think this feeds into what I was trying to suggest. When a team has time and control of the game to create those types of chances players find it easier to finish first time. Also mentioned above was the confidence factor which always plays a part.
 

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Olivier Giroud might be the best one touch finisher I've ever seen. He was incredible at it, possibly because he had a lack of pace causing him to have to get his shots away early.
Yes, he is very good in that respect. Van Persie, Van Nistelrooy and Solskjær were greats at this at United in my time. Frank Lampard and Raul come to mind.

Statistically, I believe Van Gaal was on dry land, as for most players, hitting it first time reduces precision enormously. Unless you practice enormously, you need space and perfect lay up (Rashfords goal vs Wolves) or being so close to goal as to not need much precision (Højlund’s and McTominay’s goals vs Wolves). If you keep the ball until a player gets time to cushion and fire, he can do that from all around or even outside the box with the increased precision it allows for. Normally, first time shots are wasted opportunities. However, at the highest level, the best defending teams will not allow the time to cushion and shoot even outside the box.

Solskjær’s way around it as a player, was countless hours practicing first time shots with car tyres as goals. He always shot before the keeper expected, and first time shots give increased power often, exploiting the ball’s incoming speed. As a coach, he has been ridiculed for his ‘shoot, shoot’ rehearsal, but it is in fact a concrete exercise he would use with top players to overcode the Van Gaal or Wenger schools of controlling the ball to much that was imprinted in their systems from earlier coaches. Bruno, Martial, Rashford scored many first time or early taken shots in his time. Counter attacking also gives the space needed in shooting situations to exploit that.

Guardiola’s way around it is systematization, lots of preprogrammed running and passing patterns to give shooting opportunities with some space and closeness to goal even against very good defences. His weakness, as we know, has been against the very best defensively focussed teams, like Solskjær’s own, who manage to minimize that space close to goal.

So I’d say the opening question depends alot on what the opponents allow for, and how much training hours you are prepared to allocate to that particular type of finishing or setting up moves.
 

GMoore23

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As others have already said, Van Gaal didn't allow shooting without taking a touch when in charge here.

Flair is nearing extinction in the game.
 

Solius

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It's situation dependent. Bruno often tries it when he should really be taking a touch. Last night he did take a touch but it was too heavy and made the gap smaller for Dawson to cover.

Looks beautiful when it's pulled off though. Mainoo's goal against Newport was lovely.
 

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Bruno had one last night, took a touch and fluffed it. Rodri in the same position, swept one in first time with no fuss the other night.

Personally, I think it's the quality of the pass that determines whether or not you can hit it first time, the weight, the spin, the angle it's played at are all determining factors. Utd players do not play passes that are conducive to players hitting first time shots.
This is the correct answer. A first time finish requires a very well weighted pass without bobbles etc. for all but the most elite finishers. We generally don’t play as many good passes from those wide areas that are conducive to being swept home with a single touch.
 

Marwood

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Cole's against Newcastle. Think Giggs played the pass. Loved it.

But yeah like beating players, rounding the keeper, football is losing its flair.
 

OleGunnar20

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I heard somewhere on a podcast the other day that first touch finishes are statistically far more likely to go in, assuming some other variables were similar. Makes perfect sense really.

My Swiss cheese brain can't remember anything more they said about it though.
 

Mickeza

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I think both Bruno and Rasmus were right to take touches yesterday. The issue was Bruno’s touch was slightly too heavy and Rasmus slightly scuffed his shot. Both Rashford and Mainoo have scored very good one-touch finishes in the last two games.
 

Pronewbie

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It should be left to a player's instinct. Sometimes it just feels right and also to catch the keeper off-guard. Onana in his current form will probably just stand rooted to the ground.
 

Fortitude

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Another one! Gaaaaa!

Goal if Højlund goes 1st time. Controlling touch robbed him of the opportunity to shoot.
 

Redplane

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The comments about LvG banning it don't surprise me when you consider he coached players like Kluivert and Litmanen to greatness - who were both fantastic first touch controllers of the balls but also had the technique, power and accuracy to not need more than that.
 

sunama

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Both, of course, but a proper one touch finish is really something else:
Hva to add why setting it up is also a beauty:
The first video/finish was sublime.

The 2nd video: the GK kicked out the (long) ball and 12 seconds later it was in the back of his own net.
 

tomaldinho1

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The comments about LvG banning it don't surprise me when you consider he coached players like Kluivert and Litmanen to greatness - who were both fantastic first touch controllers of the balls but also had the technique, power and accuracy to not need more than that.
The LVG info is misremembered.

The point was if you shot first time and then missed, he would pick you up on it in the evaluation session. Basically players did not like getting called out for poor finishing. The story specifically says he didn't mind you shooting first time if you scored.
 

Redplane

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The LVG info is misremembered.

The point was if you shot first time and then missed, he would pick you up on it in the evaluation session. Basically players did not like getting called out for poor finishing. The story specifically says he didn't mind you shooting first time if you scored.
Ah thats interesting. I can definitely see how the prima donnas of today wouldn't like that.
 

RoyH1

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That kind of striker is becoming rarer.
Legend says that Hugo Sánchez won the Pichichi in the 89-90 season with 38 goals, and every one of them was a first touch.
 

SilentWitness

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I think stat and analysis based football has probably drived this out of football and players but it would be interesting if there has been any study on xG with first time finished vs one touch and then finish?
 

Withnail

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The LVG info is misremembered.

The point was if you shot first time and then missed, he would pick you up on it in the evaluation session. Basically players did not like getting called out for poor finishing. The story specifically says he didn't mind you shooting first time if you scored.
I don't think it really matters. The net effect is that LVG discouraged first time shooting by his actions.
 

adexkola

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Like the great Patrick Ewing asked, "do you practice that shot? When?"

If you're like Beckham/Ole, doing nothing but perfecting that 1 touch shot under different scenarios, then yes you can get away with such attempts in a game

Otherwise we have a limited amount of shot opportunities and there is no need for you to attempt something in a live setting you don't have the ability for.
 

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Taking an additional touch has resulted in the most iconic international goal in my country's history:


I do not think that there is an answer to the question asked in the opening post. Knowing when to do what is a part of the skill of finishing. It would make sense that a first-time finish should occur, for optimal efficiency, either when there is no other choice or when the incoming pass is so well weighed and there is enough space that the finish is a simple one. These are less and less comon scenarios.
 

adexkola

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My favorite Rooney goal is his second against Milan at home in the 06-07 season. Reverse pass from Giggs, and Rooney took the one touch shot, which gave him that little space needed against Nesta and Dida
 

tomaldinho1

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I don't think it really matters. The net effect is that LVG discouraged first time shooting by his actions.
Not really. It’s just accountability. That’s what you want as a fan surely - players being mature enough to take valid criticism? Not exactly groundbreaking stuff to understand as a player if you’ve missed by taking a first time shot you might have had a better chance after a touch. You either get your head down and do a lot of work on your finishing or you accept that part of your game isn’t as good as you thought it was.
 

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Not really. It’s just accountability. That’s what you want as a fan surely - players being mature enough to take valid criticism? Not exactly groundbreaking stuff to understand as a player if you’ve missed by taking a first time shot you might have had a better chance after a touch. You either get your head down and do a lot of work on your finishing or you accept that part of your game isn’t as good as you thought it was.
It reminds me of when the Irish Rugby team got more and more conservative and refused to off-load the ball under Joe Schmidt. His contention was always that he didn't discourage anyone from off-loading. It came out later that if they tried it and messed it up they'd be all over the video review so the effect was that people became risk averse even if that may not have been the intention. It all depends how you go about it. If you criticise people for trying specific actions and failing they'll stop doing taking those actions. For me it's the same thing as telling them not to do it.
 

tomaldinho1

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It reminds me of when the Irish Rugby team got more and more conservative and refused to off-load the ball under Joe Schmidt. His contention was always that he didn't discourage anyone from off-loading. It came out later that if they tried it and messed it up they'd be all over the video review so the effect was that people became risk averse even if that may not have been the intention. It all depends how you go about it. If you criticise people for trying specific actions and failing they'll stop doing taking those actions. For me it's the same thing as telling them not to do it.
Professional athletes though aren't like us, they should have that ability to front up to errors. To quote Roy Keane 'it is their job'. Schmidt was a great coach for Ireland in my opinion and had great results, if you look at the data for rugby he's playing the stats, offloads have decreased steadily in big games because professional sport becomes about risk mitigation.

I think there's an argument that younger players who want to dribble might not like that micro management - and I do think that's what has killed football somewhat in these last few years. Where are the great dribblers and entertainers now?
 

KiD MoYeS

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Calvert-Lewin was really good at it for a period under Ancelotti at Everton. He's one of those players that the more touches he takes, the worse he gets.
 

Withnail

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Professional athletes though aren't like us, they should have that ability to front up to errors. To quote Roy Keane 'it is their job'. Schmidt was a great coach for Ireland in my opinion and had great results, if you look at the data for rugby he's playing the stats, offloads have decreased steadily in big games because professional sport becomes about risk mitigation.

I think there's an argument that younger players who want to dribble might not like that micro management - and I do think that's what has killed football somewhat in these last few years. Where are the great dribblers and entertainers now?
He was a great coach for Ireland but he became more and more risk averse as he went and discouraged creativity in favour of a reliance on pre-set moves and it all becamea but stagnant. If you look at the team now there's a lot more off-loading and heads up rugby being played because the environment created by Farrell fosters that approach.

You make an interesting point though and it's been suggested that academies and data driven approaches stifle creativity and flair. For example, long range screamers are disappearing from the game presumably as it's a low % play.