Toe Poke Finish

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The toe poke finish is one of the most surprising finishes you can have in your locker, surprising for the keeper that is, because there’s not much for the keeper to read, the technique looks as if you’re about to take another touch as part of your dribble. The finish is best used when inside the box and in particular on a moist pitch so the ball zips quickly across the surface. You should aim to poke in the direction you’re running as this will give you the most power, you can poke in a corner you aren’t facing, you just won’t get as much power so it’s best to try when closer to the keeper. It has been used by footballing greats like Romario in the 1994 World Cup and Ronaldo in the 2002 World Cup.

Practicing this type of finish can start to hurt your toe so if you feel pain then please stop and take a break from it. Let’s take you through the steps:

Before you attempt the technique it’s vital that you assess your target, so have a quick look up to see if this technique is suitable and to see where the keeper is placed.

Start by practicing from a standstill and then move into running with the ball.

Step 1

Whilst standing over the ball, plant your standing leg next to the ball, leaving a gap to allow room for your kicking leg to swing through.

Bring your shooting leg back a little, to get the power needed for the finish, then swing through to meet the ball with the toe area of your boot.

Step 2

Now practice by taking a couple of steps back and then heading towards the ball.

  • Aim to meet the ball in the middle lower end, trying to get topspin on the ball by following the poke upwards with your foot.
  • Your upper body should be upright

Step 3

Move into trying this technique whilst you’re dribbling towards goal, the same steps apply. This technique is most effective whilst running with the ball into the penalty area closer to the keeper.

  • When you’re running with the ball you will need to plant your standing leg to the side of the ball as part of your running stride.

Your arms don’t have to be up for balancing, you can use this finish with your normal running technique.

Step 4

To toe poke in the corner you’re not facing, you’ll need to make contact with the ball with the ball from the side opposite the corner you want to place the ball.

  • So if you’re right footed and facing the left side of the goal, then connect with the ball on the left side and poke towards the right side. The opposite applies to left footers.
  • You’ll need to place yourself to the side of the ball you want to connect with of course, so a wider plant for your standing leg will allow you to bring your shooting foot around to make contact with the ball.
  • Best to practice with the ball rolling forwards
  • Practice the finish when close to keeper

Practice with a target to aim at so your accuracy improves