Crosses and rebounds

Use this session to encourage play on the wings and to improve the ability of your forwards to latch onto rebounds in a crowded penalty area. The focus of the game is the wide areas and creating space in the packed area in front of the goals. Rebounds from crosses are plentiful in youth games and attackers need to be alert to follow up and score.

Set up

Set up an area of 40×10 yards with a goal on each of the long sides and a five-yard zone at both ends. We’ve used 14 players. You need balls, bibs, cones and two normal sized goals.

How to play it

Split your players into three teams of four plus two keepers. Play 4v4 in the main area. A neutral team is on the outside of the pitch and they have a player at each end and a player next to the goal. The attacking team must use the wide players during the attack and if they also use the player next to the goal it counts double.
Starts and restarts are with the coach, who plays the ball into the middle. It’s first to three goals and then the loser switches with the neutrals.


This forces play wide to create scoring chances and with the ball being played back into the attackers from next to the goal, it replicates the rebounds when attacking in a match. The shape of the area controls the way the game is played.

Wing attack

    1. Starts and restarts are with the coach who plays the ball into one of the teams in the middle of the pitch
    2. The attacking moves must go through the wingers, who play for the team in possession

score from a cross

    3. The wingers must get a good cross into the team that passed the ball to them
    4. Here the player takes the chance and scores a goal. First to score three goals wins the game and the losers swap with the team on the edge of the pitch

Wing play

    5. If the team can use both the winger and one of the neutral players next to the goal they get double points
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