Shadow Play to begin. Attack in two’s to begin. Movement away from the ball initially if there is time in the build up. Working on timing of runs. Attack near post and far post areas. Cross from both sides.
Position off the near post don’t go beyond it to meet the ball; unless drawing a defender out of position for the second striker to attack. Winger plays a 1–2 and crosses as early as possible. Strikers know this and must get in position to meet the cross. The cross should be between knee and head height. Service could be a driven pass from a striker to a wide player or the play starts wide (timing is better).
- Introduce a defender who must choose a striker to mark. The defender starts from the same area as the striker as if retreating towards goal. The crosser finds a free player.
- Introduce a third attacking player in behind the front two for the pull back.
- Have the opposite wide player coming inside as an additional attacker to cover the area beyond the far post, and the crosser has another player to pick out (now it is a 4 v 1 situation).
- Introduce another defender to mark up another attacker (4 v 2).
Players have made their runs into the correct positions to receive the crossed ball. The crosser has four choices of cross to make, near post, far post, pull back for the midfield player and past the far post for the opposite wide player. See who is free or just get the ball in if there’s no time to look (for example in a game where the defender puts the crosser under pressure).
Take the set up ten yards closer so the wide players are crossing from the goal line and the striker’s runs are shorter and sharper. Include a chipped cross to the far post if the keeper is at the near post.
This is a great routine to practice as it is on going and you can keep a lot of players working. As soon as the three central attackers have made their runs and got back to the start they are ready to go again. Rotate defenders and wide players. You can have fifteen players and more working constantly (two sets of strikers, two sets of defenders or even more sets of players etc).