Crossing is one of the most common ways of creating a scoring opportunity in soccer.
Delivering the ball from wide areas of the field into the penalty box can take many different forms. The important thing to remember is that you are trying to pick out a teammate, or at least play the ball into the most dangerous area possible, where a striker can run on to the ball.
Here we’ll look at how to play a cross and what you should be thinking about when the ball comes to you out wide during a match.
As you learn how to play soccer. A very common type of cross is the high curling one. A player will receive the ball out on the wing and try to play it high into the goal mouth for their team to head it towards goal.
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The best way to do this is to first get your head up and have a look at what is happening in the penalty area. If there are players arriving or already in position, pick out a desired target or an area where you think a cross will cause the opposition problems. Decide where you want to put your cross and then concentrate on the ball itself.
Approach it from an angle and plant your standing foot about a foot wide of the ball, bringing your kicking leg through in a smooth arc with the desired amount of force. Your foot should connect with the lower half of the outside of the ball on the laces of your soccer boot and you should lean back a little.
Driving through the ball, you should get lift and a little curl and spin as the
ball takes off and heads towards its target.
Another type of cross is the low fizzer across the face of goal which can be particularly effective when you are close to the by-line and don’t have the desired space to curl the ball over.
More like a pass, use your instep (the very inside of your foot below the ball of your ankle) and meet the soccer ball with a firm impact. Keep your head over the ball but lean a little further back than you would for a pass. You can try to connect with the lower half of the ball if you wish to get some air on it and have it come in and perhaps bounce awkwardly for the defenders.
Crossing always depends upon assessing the situation closer to goal and maximising the chances of your team-mates arriving to score.
Strikers love to receive an accurate cross in at head height exactly as they arrive to head it in but it’s a little harder for them if they’re smaller in stature against a big defender and the goalkeeper. In that case, playing the ball in low to their feet might be a better option.
The goalkeeper is also a big factor. Many good crosses eliminate the goalkeeper by arriving high at the back-post over the goalie’s head or else being whipped to the near-post where the attackers can beat him to it. There is an area of uncertainty for goalkeepers between the six-yard line and the penalty spot which is an excellent place to aim for when you want to play it in and perhaps draw them off their goal-line.
Matt Smith from Epic Soccer Training demonstrates this last point in the video below.
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