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Cross on the run with Tony Carr

davidscwnew

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



12 –point plan for technical top marks

davidscwnewI’m starting some extra coaching this season which means I’m going to be looking at developing a team of eight-year-olds through to the age of 12. A couple of the parents asked how I’d kick things off, and I thought I’d share with you what my plan will be. My immediate thoughts are that I want my players to be technically good. I’ll then mix that in with a few speed of movement skills. Initially I will use unopposed sessions until my players are up to speed. I can then put in opposition to make the task harder.

Here’s my 12-point technical plan.

I will tell players to:
1. Use side of the foot and instep to kick the ball both along the ground and through the air with accuracy.
2. Use all parts of the body to keep the ball in the air… apart from the arms!
3. Control the ball with all parts of the body… apart from arms!
4. Concentrate on accuracy of passing when on the move.
5. Shoot at goal with accuracy, which takes priority over power.
6. Concentrate on crossing accuracy to near and far posts. This will take some time with the younger ones and therefore crossing will be initially about direction rather than power.
7. Try to gain confidence in defensive and attacking heading using the right technique.
8 Take on board 1v1 skills that give them the ability to get past an opponent using feints and stepovers.
9. Practise quick passing tactics to get past opponents with skills like wall passes.
10. Practise individual techniques like shielding, recovering, tackling.
11. Take notice of the correct technique and tactics for throw-ins.
12. Appreciate the art of set pieces, freekicks, corners and penalties. This is my initial technical blueprint.

Of course, we have tactics, positional play and a code of conduct that comes outside of this, but as a pretty thorough technical game plan, I can’t wait to get it started. I’ll let you know how you get on; feel free to use with on your team..



Turn crosses into goals

davidscwnew

Arriving in the box in the right place at the right time is a particular strength of the world’s top strikers and attacking midfielders. Giving your players this ability will add to the potency of your team’s attack.

During your training session work on these things:

  • Are the attackers meeting the ball as it arrives or are they waiting for the cross? Perfect timing will make the defender’s job of marking almost impossible.
  • Ask the wingers to supply a variety of crosses at different angles, heights and speeds to encourage the attackers to make different runs.

Good build up play will allow wingers to exploit width, putting them in a position to get the ball into the box for your forwards to attack. This session shows your players how to turn these opportunities into goals by getting players on the end of crosses.

  1. Use an area the size of two penalty areas.
  2. One goal either side.
  3. Wingers start at either corner on one side of the area, attackers on the opposite side.

In diagram 1 the first winger carries the ball the length of the playing area and crosses the ball. Attackers set off just after and try to get on the end of the cross and score. The players join the back of the queue and the exercise repeats in the opposite direction.

In diagram 2 you can advance the play from diagram 1 by adding a pair of defenders. This will increase the pressure on the attackers to find a yard of space and on the wingers to improve their crossing accuracy.

  • The coach passes into the two attackers who combine to move the ball wide to the winger.
  • The attackers must then try to lose the defenders and score from the winger’s cross.
  • After attacking, you defend and the previous defenders break out to attack the opposite goal.



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