INSPIRED, CONFIDENT & EFFECTIVE COACHING

Defending the cross

If you can improve your players’ defending from crosses, fewer goals will be conceded. The session focuses primarily on the four defenders and their ability to block a cross or clear the ball from danger.

What this session is about

  1.  Defending.
  2.  Clearing crosses.
  3.  Working as a back four.

What to think about

Working on your defenders’ abilities to combat crosses is vital to any coach.

When defending a cross, the team must try to:

  1.  Place the crosser under pressure and attempt to block the cross.
  2.  Fill the penalty area with defenders to give the team the best chance to clear the ball from danger.
  3.  When clearing the ball, defenders must use height and distance on their clearance to relieve pressure and allow the team to push forward.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
7-10 minutes15-20 minutes15-20 minutes15-20 minutes7-10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Two defenders work at the same time in this triple-attack circuit, as shown in the top picture.

Ball 1: Defenders must jump to make a clearing header from a serve in front of them.

Ball 2: Both defenders must immediately react and run back into the box to each clear the cross from a wide position.

Ball 3: Defenders then react for a third cross, this time it is a diagonal cross made into the box.

After the defenders have completed the circuit, players rotate positions.

Two defenders try to repel three types of attacking crosses.

Two defenders try to repel three types of attacking crosses.


Development

Four defenders play against six attackers. This includes two opposing forwards and, on each wing, a full back and wide player, as shown in the middle picture.

To begin, one of the attacking team’s full backs passes to the wide player and makes an overlapping run.

The nearest defender (D1) must now go to defend 1v2 to try and stop a cross coming into the penalty box. The other three defenders must now take up positions inside the box to clear the cross in a 3v2 situation.

You must encourage opponents to be clever in their play and try crosses from different angles and at varying heights.

After each attack, the players go back to their starting positions and the next attack begins on the opposite flank.

Four defenders try to stop shots on goal from attacks, originating from the wings.

Four defenders try to stop shots on goal from attacks, originating from the wings.


Game situation

Use two teams to play a small-sided game, as shown in the bottom picture.

The attacking team has five players on the pitch (whites) and two players in wide positions.

The defending team also has five players on the pitch but has two players either side of the attacking team’s goal.

The attacking team’s goalkeeper always starts the game by passing to the attacking team.

The defending team must try to regain the ball and then counter attack by passing forward to their target players and running to receive a return pass to score.

Swap each team’s roles for the same time period and the team that scores most goals wins.

The attacking team (white) uses two wide players to try and score while the defending team (black) tries to counter break.

The attacking team (white) uses two wide players to try and score while the defending team (black) tries to counter break.


What to call out

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