Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Cross on the run with Tony Carr

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This session emphasises the importance of delivering accurate crosses from wide areas to create good attacking moves. The more accurate your players become, the more effective your team will be when attacking.

Ball carriers have to think about where their team mates are, and where is the best place to play the ball to maximise their attacking options.

The best place for a wide player to aim for is the space between the six yard box and the penalty spot. If your attackers know this is the area where the ball is going to be crossed, they can attack it to meet the ball.

The wide player must try to keep the cross away from the goalkeeper.

When the cross is played, the player must turn their upper body in the direction of the ball and think about the height, weight and timing.

How to play it

Using half a pitch, you need a goal and a goalkeeper. Have a goal at either end when you develop it into a game.

Split players into two groups. The first lines up between the penalty area and the touch line, while the second lines up centrally outside the penalty area. Both groups start 25 yards to 30 yards from goal, although this can vary depending on the age and ability of the players.

The players from the first group take it in turns to run with a ball until they pass a marker, and cross 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 shot. Make the two groups switch roles, and also get players to cross from the other side of the pitch.

How to develop it

Introduce a third line of players who attack the cross from the far post area. Now the wide players have to make a decision on where to cross the ball. Add a defender in the penalty area who actively competes for the ball.

Play it in a game

Set up a pitch that’s wider than normal and play a small-sided game with two goals and goalkeepers. Play normal football, but make goals scored from crosses count double.

Tony Carr is the Academy Director of West Ham United in the English Premier League

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