OBJECTIVE: CROSSING AND FINISHING AFTER COMBINATION PLAY 2
Dynamic movements and stretching 15 minutes. The session about to take place will involve many crosses so the players need to be physically ready so as to avoid injury. A dynamic, neuromuscular warm up such as the FIFA 11+ would be suitable with care taken to ensure the groin and hip complex in particular is thoroughly warmed up.
PART 1 – 17 Minutes
Possession game looking to switch the play to open spaces
To create space to enable crosses to take place many times the ball needs to be switched to less crowded areas. Guardiola has often talked about pass to attract before a large switch of play, often to a player running into the space. This emerges in this game.
Play 6 vs 6 plus 4 neutrals. If the players are having too much success the change to 7 vs 7 plus 2.
The area is 40 yards by 40 yards
To score a point the teams have to pass the ball to a player moving into one of the corner zones
The players cannot stand in these zones. If they make a run into them and the ball does not arrive they must vacate the space.
Play 4 games of 3 minutes with 90 second breaks for active recovery and coaching points.
A few points to note:
The game directly relates to the need to switch play to free spaces which is vital to creating crossing opportunities.
This is a high intensity aerobic exercise. Played for 4 x 3 minutes with 90 seconds recovery, the game provides a strong aerobic stimulus. So the session combines physical and tactical elements. if the coach wanted to emphasize this part of the session they could extend this to 4 x 4 minutes with 2 minutes recovery.
The next section of the session will be unopposed so provides a competitive element to counter that. Ordinarily the technical work might come before this type of work but the flow of this particular session is improved by reversing it. From a physiological perspective this is fine provided it follows a vigorous warm up
Quick ball movement
Weight of pass to meet the player in stride
Where is the least protected space to attack?
PART 2 – 12 Minutes
Technical unopposed crossing
To provide more repetitions the first part of the unopposed practice is carried out with no finish at goal. However, it is carried out on the move, at various speeds, and with a target so it makes for realistic practice. Crossing on the run is a very difficult skill and we try to introduce many repetitions for the players in our crossing and finishing practices doing this type of activity often for relatively short periods of time.
Players form 2 lines.
The player at the head of each line dribbles forward and then attempts to cross the ball to the player at the head of the other line.
The crosser attempts to keep the ball in the shaded area. This represents the second 6 yard box.
After crossing the crosser follows their pass.
Quality before quantity.
Attempt a variety of crosses
Increase the running speed of the crosser
If you have played a lower intensity game in Part 1 you could introduce a element of fitness by asking the players to run quickly (or sprint) to the end of the other line. The speed would depend on the number of players in each line, the required work to rest ratio and the desired number of sprints.
Take a last touch to the inside before crossing
Pick out a target.
Attempt quality on the crosses – usually striking the ball with pace.
Imagine the cross evading the first defender
Balanced position with weight on the non-kicking foot
Setting the first part of the session up like this will allow for many repetitions in a realistic game situation.
PART 3 – 25 minutes
Combination play before crossing
The players on the outsides of the field follow each suggested passing progression
Two players at each end act as forwards. these players should be regularly rotated
Unless indicated otherwise the players follow their pass
After crossing the players join the end of the next line.
Vary the types of crosses – outswingers, pullbacks etc
Vary the set ups
Quality of crosses
Movement of players to receive
Quick accurate passing
Quality and timing of forward movement
Accuracy of crossing – the cross should be seen as a pass to pick out a forward run
Quality and choice of finish.
There are 5 variations shown above. In any given session the coach could use maybe 2 or 3 of these.
FINAL GAME: 20 Minutes
Each team has 2 wingers and play 2 v 2 in the shaded zones at each end
An attacker can come into the neutral zone ( between the lines ) to receive. A defender may not enter this area until the attacker has touched the ball.
Goals can be scored from crosses or open play
If a team is crossing the ball its 2 defenders can come into the neutral zone to try and score with a 1 or 2 touch finish from a half clearance or a set back. In this way they resemble midfield players on the edge of the area. The attackers must stay in their half.
Remove all restrictions and play as a free game
All of the points listed in part 1 and 2
The weak side winger must come in for the cross.
The forwards need to co-ordinate their runs
Can the crosser pick out the free player with a quality cross?
Recommended reading for crossing and finishing:
Other crossing practices you might enjoy: