EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Pick your cross like Navas

Successful crosses involve skill, timing and teamwork. A chances. cross is like an accurate long pass – it needs to have a destination and it needs to be aimed at a specific area. Experts at this include Manchester City’s Jesus Navas and Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery.

What this session is about

  1. When and where to cross.
  2. Creating goalscoring chances.

What to think about

Crossers of the ball must:

  • Consider whether to cross early or cross from near the goal line.
  • Watch team mates and decide on the target area.
  • Aim between the edge of the six-yard box and the penalty spot.
  • Keep the cross away from the keeper but give team mates something to attack.
  • Have their upper body facing the direction of the cross.
  • Think about timing the cross with the attacker’s run.
  • Use the right technique for driven, lofted or bending crosses.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Use one end of a pitch with a goal. Between the six-yard box and the penalty spot, mark out three adjacent zones across the width of the six-yard box that measure 7.5, 5 and 7.5 yards respectively (all dimensions can be adjusted depending on the players’ ages), as shown in the top picture.

Players line up on one wing between the 18-yard box and the touchline, 25 yards from goal.

The first player dribbles the ball towards the goal line and concentrates on crossing the ball into one of the near post (A), central (B) or far post (C) target zones. Players can try lofted, driven and swerving crosses.

To progress, ask the players to nominate the area they are aiming for and the style of delivery before crossing.

Now switch the drill to the other side of the pitch so players have to use their other foot.

Players dribble down the wing and aim to put their cross into areas A, B or C, with different types of delivery.

Players dribble down the wing and aim to put their cross into areas A, B or C, with different types of delivery.


Development

Now add a goalkeeper and split players into two groups. The first group (1) lines up between the penalty area and the touchline, while the second group (2) lines up centrally outside the penalty area.

Players from the first group take it in turns to run with a ball and cross it into a target zone to a player from the second group, who has made a run into the penalty area.

Players receiving the cross attempt to score with a first-time header or shot. Make the two groups switch roles and get players to cross from the other side of the pitch.

To progress, introduce a third line of players who attack the cross from the far post area. Now the players crossing have to make a decision about who to cross the ball to.

A second group of players joins the practice as strikers. Their aim is to meet the delivery in one of the three areas and score.

A second group of players joins the practice as strikers. Their aim is to meet the delivery in one of the three areas and score.


Game situation

Play a five-a-side game, including keepers, on a pitch that is wider than it is long to encourage crosses.

Goals are worth at least double if they are initiated from a cross. The team that scores most goals wins.

In a small-sided game, the pitch is wider than it is long to create more chances to cross the ball.

In a small-sided game, the pitch is wider than it is long to create more chances to cross the ball.


What to call out

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