EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Three in the box

Crosses into the box are only good if you can score goals from them. Here is how you can improve your team’s chances of scoring by encouraging your players to make forward runs into the opponent’s penalty box.

What this session is about

  1. Forward runs into the box.
  2. Scoring from crosses.
  3. Using the wings.

What to think about

When the ball is in wide areas, wingers have to cross the ball early and into dangerous positions inside the box.

Failing to cross the ball early allows defenders to get into comfortable, set positions.

If this agreement is made with the wide players, then the forwards know to expect early crosses and can make runs into the penalty box.

Also the wide player on the opposite wing has to make a run to the far post so the team has an extra attacker in the box.

The aim for all teams is to have a minimum of three attackers in the box at all times.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Use one half of your regular-size pitch and set up your players as shown in the top picture.

A midfielder passes the ball to a forward, who has his back to goal, to begin the exercise. The forward passes to another midfielder, who plays the ball wide to a winger.

As the winger runs on to the ball, all players that have touched the ball make runs towards the penalty area. Also the winger on the opposite side runs in to attack.

The midfielder who passed the ball to the winger runs to the edge of the box for any knockdowns while the other three aim for the near post, penalty spot and far post.

Swap attackers for the next attempt at scoring and use the opposite wing.

Players combine to allow a winger to cross into the box while three run in to attack and another waits on the edge for knockdowns.

Players combine to allow a winger to cross into the box while three run in to attack and another waits on the edge for knockdowns.


Development

Progress the practice by adding three defenders to stop the five attackers from scoring, as shown in the middle picture.

Defenders can wait for the cross to come in and defend or send the nearest defender to try to block the wide player from crossing the ball.

Can the forwards combine quickly to unlock the defence, create a crossing situation and score a goal?

Swap players and their roles so everyone plays in every position. Allow players to choose which wing they attack from so defenders have to be alert.

The attack is now opposed. The nearest defender can retreat into the box or press the winger to try and block the cross.

The attack is now opposed. The nearest defender can retreat into the box or press the winger to try and block the cross.


Game situation

Set up an area 50 yards long by 40 yards wide with a five-yard channel on each wing, as shown in the bottom picture.

Use two teams. Each team nominates one wide player to play on the right wing.

Play normal rules, including offside, but teams score one point for scoring a goal and two points for scoring from a cross.

This means teams are rewarded for switching play and making runs into the penalty box to score from a cross. Once a pass is made to a wide player, the nearest defender can run into the channel to defend 1v1.

Swap wingers on a regular basis and swap to the left wing as well. The team that scores most goals wins.

Each team tries to switch the ball out to the right winger in order to create a crossing situation.

Each team tries to switch the ball out to the right winger in order to create a crossing situation.


What to call out

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