This session is about crossing and finishing from wide areas, and is one we’ll perform up to three times a week because in Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede we have two players who thrive on service from the flanks.
Both players topped 20 goals last season and a lot of that was down to excellent service – yes we rely on guys in the middle to finish, but players on the wings who can provide good deliveries too, and this session practises both.
What do I get the players to do?
We start with a warm-up of passing in shape with a finish on goal, as shown (1). The encouragement is for players to get crosses into the box early. As soon as one attack ends another begins with the emphasis on maintaining a high tempo.
What are the key things to look out for?
We’re looking for quality of pass into space. As this happens there must be good movement in the box with strikers taking up positions in key areas (one across the near post, one for a pull-back). A common mistake is strikers making the same type of run, or to the same point. The delivery must have pace, weight and accuracy, with power and timing the key elements when it comes to what we look for in the finish. We also want to see originality and variation in approach play (2).
The secret to mastering crossing and finishing is repetition, which builds confidence, communication and understanding. What’s being coached is not complex or especially detailed, but it does require precision, accuracy and excellent teamwork, and that’s where the best and worst teams succeed and fail.
How do I put this into a game situation?
We now set up as shown (3), 3v3 in each penalty area with a five-yard gap in between where a striker can enter unopposed. The four white neutrals are crossers.
We can progress by allowing the white neutral on the far side to come into the area to create a 4v3 attacking overload (4)