Grassroots Coaching

Coaching practice to improve attacking and finishing from crosses

Statistically, a single cross has on average a greater goal threat than does a single final third pass. Crosses are a high risk, high reward skill compared to a ground based passing strategy that is low risk, but also low reward for each individual pass.

At lower levels of football, teams often struggle to keep possession and pull opposition defenses around to create  attacking situations. Therefore, as a major part of any attacking policy, when the ball goes wide it is important that crosses are delivered into the area. This must also be accompanied by forwards making timed, positive runs to attack the cross. The near post run is the main run, as this causes the goalkeeper and defenders to react and creates chaos.

Even the best defenses struggle to cope with well delivered crosses from good areas and forwards making timed, positive runs to attack the cross.

Continuing our recent blog focus on developing and improving strikers skills, we concentrate in this blog on the importance of crossing and strikers movement to attack and finish from crosses.

This rotating crossing and finishing game is designed to improve game related crossing and finishing skills. The video, which features a cut down version of the video session that is available for members of also highlights actual game examples of how crossing and finishing result in goals!


  • 2 age relevant goals with GK’s 40 – 60 yards apart.
  • Width of the pitch – 40 – 60 yards
  • Adjust the size of the pitch to suit the age and ability of the players
  • Use safe flat discs to mark out a centre circle
  • Position 2 flat discs 10 – 15 yards out and 1 – 2 yards inside each goal post
  • Two wide players on each side of the pitch
  • 2 attackers start in the centre circle, with a supporting midfield player outside the centre circle
  • Other group of players who aren’t involved in the attack stay out of the area
  • Supply of footballs with each GK


  • Ball is passed from the GK into either the strikers in the centre circle or to midfield player
  • Ball must be passed into one of the strikers in the centre circle, attacking players quickly combine to pass to the ball to the wide players to their right / or left

Cross and runs

  • Wide players, either individually or via combination look to cross from various wide positions. Wide players look to hit either the near or far post areas
  • When the ball has gone wide, the strikers communicate and using the discs as reference points , make runs off the discs, one goes near post, the other goes far post and the midfield player backs up the play. They attack the ball and try and score.

Rotate and repeat

  • After the attack, the ball is delivered from the GK to the next group, who attack the opposite goal, using the same structure as the first attack – ball into strikers, pass wide, cross, attack the cross

Progressions and challenges

  • Which team can score the most goals from 10 crosses
  • Cross from both sides of the pitch
  • Wide players to use their imagination to combine with over laps, under laps, set up play, individual dribbling skills and cross
  • Introduce a defender
  • Introduce, one, then two defenders
  • Put a defender in the wide areas – creating a 2 v 1 attacking overload
  • Keep the challenges and progressions

Coaching Tips

  • Combine to pass the ball wide and cross
  • Wide players to get their heads up prior to crossing and look to hit one definite space – near post with whip and pace. If a defender is defending, cross where they aren’t defending!
  • Far post with height
  • Pull back to the edge of the area
  • Strikers to communicate and use the discs as markers to time and angle and time their runs for the cross.
  • One striker must go near post, using the far post disc as their marker.
  • One striker to go far post, using the near post disc as their marker
  • Midfield player to take the edge of the area position for a pull back or knock down or to maybe attack the middle, between the strikers with a timed late run
  • Strikers / midfield to react to any miss hit shots / headers, poor crosses or knock downs. Try and score


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Attacking Sessions FA Level 2 UEFA B