Using the width of the pitch is a great way to launch attacks on your opposition defence. It doesn’t matter whether your players are under-4s on a small pitch or under-14s on an 11-a-side pitch, crossing the ball from the wings is one of the most successful ways to create goal-scoring opportunities.
Key soccer coaching tips for crossing skills
- Low, powerful crosses are hard to defend.
- A good, accurate, low cross into the penalty area is one of the hardest balls young defenders will have to face.
- High, looping crosses are hard enough but at least you can see those.
- Balls coming in at an angle just behind the defenders are almost impossible to control and often any touch by a defender will result in an own goal.
Crossing skills drill
- Deliver a swinging cross from out wide.
- Tell your attacker to cross from a wide position, to the side of the penalty area and a few paces past the edge of the area.
What your player must think about
When your winger is going to cross the ball he must think about how best to exploit the space available:
- Where is the goalkeeper?
- Where are the defenders?
- Where are his attackers?
- Which area should he hit?
When you are practising this move tell your player he must:
- Cross to the back of the defence.
- Keep the ball away from the goalkeeper.
- Keep the ball below head height.
- Cross with pace.
How to do it
The technique players should use is the swerve pass using the inside of the foot.
- Non-kicking foot should be slightly behind, and to the side of the ball. Use the inside of the foot to kick across the ball.
- Tell player to keep his head steady, eyes looking at the ball at the moment of contact.
- His body should be slightly forward to keep the ball low.
How to practise the crossing technique
- Using the top third of a full size pitch or half a 7-a-side pitch.
- You need a goalkeeper, a defender, the crosser and two attackers to cross to.
- The winger runs down the wing on the far side of the pitch towards the defender.
- He must deliver a cross into the area just before he gets to the defender.
- The two attackers attempt to connect with the cross and score.
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