Number eight in our series on the favorite activities of college coaches is an exercise from Trevor Gorman. Coach Gorman is the assistant coach for the men’s team at Dartmouth. You might recognize his name from his work as a sideline reporter for Fox Soccer Channel’s broadcast of the college game of the week. The following is his favorite exercise:
Houllier 2 vs. 1 Finishing Game

As with most great exercises, this one has been passed along through many coaches : possibly originating with Gerard Houllier, hence the name.

This exercise can be used for technical repetition, game like situations, and fun competition.


The area used is a double penalty area (36 x 44) with two full sized goals : one on its normal position on the end-line and the other facing it 36 yards away.

Players are divided in to two teams (one in vests and the other without). Teams then split in to two groups, and face their teammates diagonally opposite corners of the playing area. One of each team’s two groups will have soccer balls (both team’s soccer balls will be along the same sideline)

Technical Exercise

For basic technical repetition, team’s will alternate playing a long pass across the area (Player A to Player B). Upon receiving the pass Player B dribbles toward the middle of the area. After playing the pass, Player A arcs his run so that when Player B stops the ball he can run on to it for a shot. The same action is then repeated by the second team with Player A and Player B switching lines.

2 vs. 1 Finishing Game

To progress to the competitive finishing game the set-up remains the same. To Begin, Team 1 will send a player (Player C) out to the D. Team 2 will then begin the game when Player A plays a long pass across the area to Player B. Player C is allowed to intercept the pass as long as he does not leave the D. Once Player B receives the ball, he and Player A attack the goal while Player C defends. The 18 yard line acts as a half-way line for the game and offside rules are in effect. Once the ball is dead (a goal is scored or the ball goes out of play), Player A (who played the original pass) becomes the defender and Team 1 will now repeat the action attacking the opposite goal. Games will last for a specified period of time (anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes) with score being kept. Play a series of games, switching the side of the service each game, causing teams to alternate the goal they attack.

Coaching Points
Quality of the initial pass
Encourage attackers to attack at speed & combine (overlaps & wall passes)
Encourage defenders to delay the ball, cut off the support, and force away from goal
Do not let players take too long passing the ball back and forth or trying to walk the ball in to the goal. Each repetition should be quick and decisive, leading to a shot or scoring opportunity.


5 responses to “Trevor Gorman Favorite Activity”

  1. Footie4Life says:

    I like any activity like this one that creates more game realistic finishing training

  2. Kwah says:

    Not only do our players need more work on these 2v1’s to goal, they also need more practice recognizing 2v1 opportunities in flank play.

  3. Aron says:

    Totally agreed about recognizing 2v1 opportunities on flank play. They need to recognize it and options to attack it. We as coaches need to show players that an 11V11 game really breaks down to these small numbers situations many time

  4. theBook says:

    I am big fan of simple finishing and placing players in situations to be successful around the goal area. A pure finsiher is what we need here in the US so anything that will enhance this is great in my mind.

  5. manU says:

    There needs to be more finishing exercises like this one. there are too many coaches who set up easy shooting drills for the shooter. the development of a finisher comes when they are challenged to score from many different situations around the box

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