EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Wide aerial bombers

Teach your players how to get in the box and scoring from crosses and your team will score plenty of goals. The practices in this session will improve individual crossing, movement in the penalty area to lose a marker, heading and shooting from crosses.

What this session is about

  1. Getting quality crosses into the box.
  2. Midfielders and attackers making runs into the box.
  3. Scoring from crosses.

What to think about

Teams often move the ball in to good crossing positions. However, it can be so frustrating for a coach when the cross lacks quality and is either misplaced or blocked by the first defender.

Also when the cross is good, the team can fail to get enough players into the box in order to create confusion in the defence and score goals. So working on these techniques in training is crucial.

Put full backs and wide players out in the flanks, practising a variety of crosses (chipped, pull back, curl, driven, in-swing, out-swing, etc).

Now have your midfielders and attackers competing to get into the box and score. Your defenders can provide opposition in these practices.

Set-up

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

What you get your players to do

Use half a pitch (relevant to the age group you are coaching) and set up your team, as shown in the top picture.

The wide player takes a touch and delivers a cross into the box for a defender and attacker to compete.

The defender (D1) starts in the centre of the penalty area and the attacker (A1) starts outside the box, and in line, with the far post.

This rule gives the attacker room to run and attack the cross by cutting in front or staying behind the defender. And he will be onside to begin the drill.

Wide players must mix up the style of cross. Wide players take it in turns to cross from the other wing for attackers (A2) on the opposite side to try and score.

Swap defenders after each cross.

A wide player crosses the ball for the attacker and defender to compete.

A wide player crosses the ball for the attacker and defender to compete.


Development

Now use two forwards and two defenders for each attack. However, this time players react to two crosses in quick succession.

You call out the type of the cross that must be made and this adds unpredictability to the practice because players must quickly react and adjust accordingly.

A wide player crosses a ball to create a 2v2 challenge. The second wide player then crosses from the opposite wing.

A wide player crosses a ball to create a 2v2 challenge. The second wide player then crosses from the opposite wing.


Game situation

Mark out an area 30 yards long and 40 yards wide. Also mark a 10-yard line from one of the goals with mannequins/poles, as shown in the bottom picture.

Use two teams. On a tight pitch, both teams are trying to use quick combination play to score.

However, one team can only score from a shot at least 10 yards from the goal.

If that team manages to score, one of the wide players immediately dribbles past the mannequin/ pole and crosses into the box for the players to react and challenge for the cross.

Again this rule adds an unpredictable nature to the game which replicates a real match situation, and the wide pitch allows more realistic crossing opportunities.

Swap teams around so each faces the same rules and the team that scores most goals wins.

When a goal is scored at the end with mannequins/poles, the team then has a chance to score from a cross.

When a goal is scored at the end with mannequins/poles, the team then has a chance to score from a cross.


What to call out

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