EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Cross country

Dealing with crosses is something every team must be competent at whether attacking or defending. These practices place your players in match-like situations to improve your defenders’ ability to repel crosses and your attackers’ ability to score from them.

What this session is about

  1. Attacking from crosses.
  2. Defending from crosses.
  3. Build up play in wide areas.

What to think about

When coaching, it’s important you have a theme or common topic throughout your session because this allows players to learn as the session develops.

However, each theme has two elements. For instance, when coaching crossing, there are players who are attacking to score and there are defenders who are trying to clear the ball from danger.

In these types of sessions, it is useful to work with two coaches and give specific instructions to the attackers and defenders.

If you are coaching alone – make notes to give instructions to all the players in the session so they all benefit from the training.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes15 minutes5 minutes

What you get your players to do

Mark out an area with a five-yard channel on each wing, as shown in the top picture. Have two balls in play at the same time, quickly followed by two more.

Play begins with each goalkeeper throwing a ball to one of their full backs (1), who is in the wide channel.

Each full back passes to a forward and runs to receive a return pass. Then the full back crosses for the two forwards and two defenders to compete for the ball.

Once completed, the full back on the opposite wing dribbles a ball up the wing and make a second cross into the box to be attacked/ defended.

Forwards cannot run past the line, marked by mannequins/poles, until the full back has gone past or a cross is put in.

Teams attack in opposite directions at the same time. Passes 1 and 2 end up as a cross for attackers and defenders to deal with.

Teams attack in opposite directions at the same time. Passes 1 and 2 end up as a cross for attackers and defenders to deal with.


Development

Bring the mannequins/poles closer so the midfield is only 10 yards long.

The first wide player (W1) passes to the midfielders (M) and makes a run into the area his team is attacking.

The midfielders combine to switch play to a wide player (W2) on the opposite wing.

W2 dribbles to cross the ball for the forward (F), two midfielders and W1 to score.

The three defenders must challenge for the ball and stop the attackers from scoring.

The next attack goes in the opposite direction.

Attackers switch the ball from one wing to the other and try to score from a cross while defenders aim to keep it out.

Attackers switch the ball from one wing to the other and try to score from a cross while defenders aim to keep it out.


Game situation

Remove the mannequins/poles and split players into two equal teams. Each team has a wide player on each side of the pitch, as shown in the bottom picture.

Wide players are free to receive passes in order to cross unopposed.

When one wide player is crossing, the opposite wide player is allowed to come inside the pitch to attack the cross. The team that scores most goals wins.

  • Progression 1 – allow a defender to go to the wing and defend 1v1 against the crosser.
  • Progression 2 – allow a player to overlap the wide player to make a 2v1 in the wide channel.
Wide players cross the ball to create goalscoring chances in a small-sided game.

Wide players cross the ball to create goalscoring chances in a small-sided game.


What to call out

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