Coaching Points in Crossing and Finishing

Head Up – Glance from the crosser, an awareness using the A.I.A. principles of: where are the players (attackers, defenders, the keeper). Sometimes they don’t have time to do this they just get the ball into the danger area and expect players to be there.

Decision – When, Where and How to cross. As early as possible to give defenders as little time as possible to position themselves.

Technique of the Cross

  1. A good first touch out of your feet to set the cross up but looking also to where the ball is going and where the attackers are to receive to cross.
  2. Balanced position with the non kicking foot alongside the ball pointing in the direction you want the cross to go. Use of techniques to produce the type of delivery below , kicking through the ball with correct timing.

Types of Cross – They can include: 

  1. Crosses that are driven low with power (usually to the near post).
  2. Swerved crosses for example around a defenders using the body position as a guide (near or far post).
  3. Chipped crosses from the goal line (usually to the far post).
  4. Longer, higher trajectory crosses to the far post and past it (to opposite wide player who can shoot at goal or head or pass it back into the danger zone).
  5. Pull back crosses or passes to a midfield player coming in late.

Runs of the Players – Near post / Far post, away from the ball initially to come back if possible (to lose markers). When a striker runs away from the ball the defender has the problem that when they look at the ball, they can’t see the player they are marking or that players movement; when they look at the player, they can’t see the delivery of the ball. Anticipation of where the ball will arrive.

Timing of the Run – As Late as possible and as Fast as possible (so you are difficult to mark plus you don’t get into the correct position too early).The player making the near post run must use the post as a guide. If they run past the near post to receive then it’s difficult to get a shot or header on target.Try to time the run so the ball is arriving as you are arriving then it’s a straight shot or header. The only time it should happen is if the near post players run beyond that post is designed to pull a defender out of position to create space for a team mate coming in behind.

Angle of the Run – Into the line of the crossed ball not across it.

The Attacking Finish – Contact on the ball is probably one touch only using the head or foot. Use the momentum of the crossed ball for power so you time the contact almost let it hit your foot rather than the player forcing it.