10 Soccer Drills For Crossing And Finishing You Need To Be Using

As a team, you want to create and score as many goals as possible. One way in which teams will try to do this is by playing the ball into wide areas where players will cross the ball into the opposing teams’ box for a striker to have an easy attempt on goal. These soccer drills for crossing and finishing will help your strikers to score more goals from crosses and make sure your wide players are able to play the perfect cross that finds your strikers.

If you would like these drills as a downloadable PDF then head to the bottom of the page

It sounds simple but there are a lot more tactics and strategies that teams use than what meets the eye.

The striker shot on goal will typically be a first-time finish, either using their finishing with their head, a volley, or a shot off the ground.

The finish of the striker will depend on the quality of the cross and also the type of cross that the wide player plays.

When coaching your crossing and finishing soccer session its important that you make sure your players practice a variety of different scenarios when crossing and finishing that best reflects the unpredictability of a real game.

These soccer drills for crossing and finishing are not the magic formula but they are definitely a step in the right direction to help your team score more goals from crosses.

If you want to speed up the development of your players the best way for you to do this is to improve your knowledge as a coach. Here are some soccer coaching books I would recommend.

What are the different types of crosses in soccer?

In soccer, there are a variety of different crosses wide players can use to try and find their teammates in the opponents’ box.

Depending on the movement of the striker, the preferred foot of the wide player, and the defenders the wide play can make the best possible decision to use the appropriate cross.

Bare this in my when coaching these soccer drills for crossing and finishing.

Below are the 6 different types of crosses in soccer.

  • Low driven Cross

This type of cross is used to play the ball across the goal along the ground, the winger will try and strike the ball using the laces to get a reasonable amount of power behind the cross.

These crosses are very hard to defend because the slightest of touches from a striker of a defender can put the ball beyond the goalkeeper.

As the power is already in the cross the striker will only have to guide the ball towards goal.

  • High driven cross

Unlike a low powerful cross that is played along the floor, this is a type of cross is played in the air with power.

These crosses will usually be taken from deeper wide positions and will usually be played towards the back post.

These types of crosses can be hard for a defender to deal with, however, if they are played with not enough power then they can be easily defended.

  • Pull back

The pull-back cross is typically played on the ground, however, instead of passing the ball forward the cross is passed back to a teammate who has made a run from deep and is coming onto the ball for a first-time shot.

The ball is usually played back in between the penalty spot and the edge of the D on the box.

This is an effective cross because the defenders will find it hard to adjust as their momentum is taking them towards their own goal.

  • In swinging cross

An in-swinging cross is used to describe a cross that curls towards the goal, this usually occurs when a wide player cuts in and crosses with their opposite foot to the side they are playing on.

These crosses are a great to attack because the direction of the cross is heading towards the goal so attackers

don’t need to adjust their run as much to make contact with the ball.

  • Out swinging cross

An out-swinging cross is the opposite of an in-swinging cross, instead of cutting inside the winger will go on the outside of the defender and cross the ball using the same foot as the side that they are playing on.

These crosses curve away from the goal and require the striker to adjust their run so they do not get caught under the ball or too far in front of the ball.

  • Chipped (floated) cross

This can be played by either cutting inside or outside.

What makes this cross different is instead of trying to curve the ball you are trying to chip the ball and float the ball into the middle of a striker to attack.

This type of cross is great for trying to play the ball to a player who is attacking the back post.

As there is not much power on the cross the attacker must try to generate power on the shot.

CRossing and finishing coaching points

During these soccer drills for crossing and finishing it is important that you consistently reinforce these coaching points, the coaching points will be different depending on what the focus on the session is, crossing or finishing.

I would recommend focusing on either the crossing aspect or the finishing aspect per session but you can easily repeat the drill in the next session and alter the focus or the coaching points.

Coaching points for crossing

  • Keep your head up before crossing

By keeping your head up you will be able to see the attacking options you have in the opponents’ box, by doing this you will be able to deliver the most appropriate cross most likely to end in a goal.

  • Deliver the ball into a dangerous area

If you do not have time to get your head try to deliver the ball into a dangerous area.

A dangerous are area to deliver the ball is the channel (the channel of uncertainty) between the goalkeeper and the defenders, a good attacker will know to attack this area.

This can cause confusion between the defenders and goalkeepers as they will be unsure who will claim the ball.

  • Use a skill to create space for yourself

As wide player defenders are going to close you down to prevent you from crossing the ball into a dangerous area, so to create space for yourself use a skill not to beat the defender but to give yourself a yard of space and an angle to deliver the cross.

  • The touch before you cross should be out of your feet

It is really important that the touch before you cross is out of your feet, this enables you to balance yourself and generate power to deliver the cross. By having a good first touch out of your feet it allows you to play an earlier cross which can catch defenders off guard

Coaching points for finishing

  • Communicate with the player crossing the ball

Communicating with the wide player as to where you want the cross delivered can help you score more goals, especially if the wide player does not have time to look up.

By shouting an area that you want the cross delivered the wide player will know where you are looking to attack, so can try to deliver the ball to that specific area.

  • Use movement to get away from the defenders

If you are an attacker you are standing still you are very easy to defend against, by moving you are dragging defenders out of positions which can create space for yourself and your teammates.

As an attacker, your first movement should be away from the space you want to attack (this will drag the defender away) and your second movement should back towards the space you want to attack.

  • Time your runs

Regardless of how well you communicate and move to get away from the defenders if you cannot time your runs you will not score.

Always keep your eye on the ball and try to judge the flight of the ball so when you meet the ball you can make a perfect connection.

If you go too early, then you will be under the ball or in front of the ball. If you go too late the ball has already passed you and the defender has cleared it.

  • Try and finish with one touch

If you are an attacker in the opposing teams’ box you will be surrounded by defenders, meaning if you want to take a touch you will be closed down immediately and your opportunity to score will disappear.

To prevent this your shot on goal should be your first touch.

Most of the time crosses will be delivered with enough power for you to divert it towards the goal.

Soccer drills for crossing and finishing

Here are my 10 favorite soccer drills for crossing and finishing.

Make sure you have all the soccer coaching equipment you need for the drills before starting.

1. Crossing and finishing soccer drill 3 v 2

Set up:

  • 10 x 15 yard area with two 2.5 yard channels
  • 1 big goal
  • 3 smaller goals
  • 5 players (2 defenders, 3 attackers)
  • 5 soccer balls

Instructions:

Set up your area with 2 wide channels and divide your players into 2 defenders and 3 attackers. The attackers will be trying to score in the larger goal with the defenders trying to score in the smaller goals on the opposite side. One goal will be placed in the center with others in each corner.

the attackers will always start with the ball from behind the smaller goals and the defenders can pressure as soon as the ball is brought into play either through dribbling or a pass. At the end of a phase of play, the attackers will always start with the ball and get 5 attempts to get as many goals as they can.

The attacking team will get a bonus point for each rule they score by.

If they score a goal where the assist came from a channel that will be 1 point.

If they score a goal where the finish was a first-time finish that will be 1 point.

For example, if a goal was scored where the finish was a first-time finish but the assist did not come from a wide area that will be 2 points.

If the defending team wins the ball they will get a point if they are able to score in the 3 smaller goals on the opposite side.

At the end of the 5 attempts swap the defenders around.

Coaching points:

  • Use the whole width of the area when attacking (make the field as big as possible)
  • Find a space to support the wide player either forwards or backwards
  • As a wide player be confident to get away from the defender and deliver a cross as early as possible

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • When you are attacking do you want to be close together or spread out?
  • If you do not have the ball where can you go to help support the wide player?
  • When you get the ball as a wide player what should your first thought be?

2. Crossing and finishing soccer drill 3v3

Set up:

  • 10 x 15 yard area with two 2.5 yard channels
  • 2 goals
  • 3 teams of 3
  • 1 soccer ball per team

Instructions:

Set up your area with 2 goals opposite each other on the 2 10 yard lines and divide your players into 3 teams of 3 with a soccer ball per team. Create 2 2.5 yard wide channels in the area.

This will be a continuous attacking drill that involves quick transitions from attack to defense.

Start with 2 teams behind 1 goal and 1 team behind the goal on the opposite side. The drill will begin with one attacking team combing passes and scoring in the goal opposite them, as soon as that goal is scored (or if the ball goes out of bounds, defenders get possession) they will become defenders with the next team attacking trying to score a goal.

This will have a similar scoring system as the previous drill.

The attacking team will get a bonus point for each rule they score by.

If they score a goal where the assist came from a channel that will be 1 point.

If they score a goal where the finish was a first-time finish that will be 1 point.

For example, if a goal was scored where the goal was not a first-time finish but the assist came from a wide area that will be 2 points.

Coaching points:

  • Attack quickly to prevent the defending team organizing themselves
  • To be able to play quick scan the area before you receive the ball so decisions can be made quicker
  • If you do not have the ball think about what forward runs you make to support the player on the ball.

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • Should you attack fast or slow? Why?
  • What should you do before you receive the ball so you can make decisions as quick as possible?
  • If you don’t have the ball what type of runs can you make?

3. 3v2 playing to the striker and getting the ball wide

Set up:

  • 10 x 15 yard area
  • 2 goals
  • 5 players (left defender, right defender, striker, left midfield, right midfield)
  • 1 soccer ball per 5 players

Instructions:

Set up your area, divide your players into 2 defenders and 3 attackers and put them into their positions, and set up the goals opposite each other.

For this soccer drill, the left or right midfield will start with the ball, they will pass the ball to the striker. As soon as the ball is played the defenders can pressure to try and win the ball back. with the striker having their back to goal this will encourage them to play the ball to the left or right midfield

The attacking 3 must try to combine passes and score in the goal. If the defenders win the ball back they try and score in the goal opposite.

Encourage the striker to play the ball out wide and the players in the wide position give them an option to pass to.

Coaching points:

  • If you are the striker play the way way you are facing (turn if you have checked your shoulder and know you have enough time to so)
  • As a wide player can you help support the striker and look to cross the ball
  • As the striker once you have passed the ball out wide create an option forward to the wider player can cross you the ball

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • When should you play back/ when should you turn?
  • How can you help support the attack as a wide player?
  • Once you have passed the ball to the wide player what should your next thought be?

4. 1v1 crossing soccer drill

Set up:

  • 7 x 15 yard Channel
  • 2 teams of 3
  • 3 soccer balls
  • 5 x 5 yard square
  • 1 large goal
  • 2 pug goals

Instructions:

This setup is going to mimic wide players attempting to cross the ball into the box against a defender who they must get past in a wide area of the pitch, this will represent your 7 x 15-yard channel.

The large goal is there as a reference to help players understand the concept, in front of the large goal create a 5 x 5-yard area with 2 pugs in the far corners of the square in relation to where the channel is.

The drill will start with the defender where they will pass the ball to the wide player, the wide players must then try to cross the ball into the box. the wide player can either go down the outside of the defender or cut inside and cross that way.

If the wide player is able to cross the ball and it travels through the square they will get one point, however, if the wide player is able to cross the ball and they score in one of the pug goals they will get 3 points.

If the defender is able to block the cross and dribble past the cone the wide player started on then they will get 1 point.

swap the defenders and at the attackers round to make sure they get an equal chance to defend and cross the ball.

Also, alternate sides from which the cross comes.

Coaching points:

  • Use a skill to give yourself the space to cross
  • Make sure the last touch you have before you cross the ball is out of your feet
  • Try to deliver the cross as early as possible

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How can you create space for yourself to deliver the cross?
  • What should you last touch be like to make it easier for you to cross?
  • When should you deliver the ball into the box? Why?

5. 2v2 crossing and finishing soccer drill

Set up:

  • 7 x 15 yard Channel
  • 1 goal
  • 2 defenders (1 central defender, 1 fullback)
  • 2 attackers (1 wide player, 1 striker)
  • 5 soccer balls

Instructions:

This will have a similar setup as the previous drill however instead of the wide player crossing to a box and scoring in pug goals they will cross to a striker who will be marked by a central defender.

For this drill, the ball will always start with the wide player. As soon as the wide player dribbles into play the defender can begin to pressure. The phase of play comes to an end if the ball goes out of bounds, if a goal is scored or if the defender retains possession for 5 seconds.

If the striker is able to score with a first finish the goal will be worth 3. If they score a goal it will just be worth 1 goal.

After 5 attempts the pairs will swap attacking and defending roles.

The team with the most goals is the winner.

Coaching points for striker:

Coaching points for the wide player will be the safe as the drill above

  • Create space for yourself, first movement should be away from the space the second movement towards the space
  • Communicated with your wide player let them know where you want the cross played
  • Time your run and keep your eye on the ball

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How can you create space for yourself?
  • How can you help your wide player know where to put the cross?
  • What should you be doing as the cross comes in?

6. 3v3 crossing and finishing soccer drill

Set up:

  • 10 x 15 yard area
  • 2 teams of 3 (1 defending team, 1 attacking team)
  • 2 goals
  • 6 soccer balls

Instructions:

Set up your area with and divide your players into 2 teams of 3. There will be a defending team and an attacking team.

In the attacking team, there will be 2 wide players, they will alternate turns trying to dribble past the full-back on either side to deliver a cross to the striker in the middle.

The opposite wide player can join the attack to create a 2v2 in the middle

The defending team will be made up of 2 fullbacks who will try to block the cross from the wide players and a central defender who will try to stop the striker from scoring.

The wide players will start with the ball and can become live as soon as the phase of play has ended (either by a goal being scored or the ball going out of bounds). The wide defender can pressure as soon as the wide player starts dribbling.

If the striker is able to score a goal that will count as 1 point, however, if the striker is able to score from the cross with a first-time finish that will count as 3 goals.

If the defender wins the ball it will become a 3v3 with the defending team trying to score in either of the goal opposites.

Swap the defenders and attackers around until every player on each team has had a chance to be the striker.

The winning team will be the team with the most points.

Coaching points:

  • Try to deliver the cross as early as possible
  • The Cross should be played in front of the striker
  • If you are the striker use different movements to get away from the defender

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • When should you cross the ball? Why?
  • Where should the cross be played?
  • If you are the striker how can you get away from the defender?

7. crossing and finishing in pairs soccer drill

Set up:

  • 10 x 15 yard area
  • 2 teams of 2
  • 2 goals
  • 1 soccer ball per team

Instructions:

Set up your area with 2 goals opposite each other on each 10-yard line. In this soccer drill, the player crossing the ball will not be put under pressure with the main focus being on the striker. Create your teams of 2 with one of the players crossing the ball and the other plays in the middle.

The wide players will alternate taking crosses to their teammate in the middle, with other teams’ players becoming the defender trying to stop them.

If the striker is able to score a goal they will get one point but if they are able to score with a first-time finish then the goal will be worth 3 points.

If the defender is able to win the ball and score in the opposite goal they will get 1 point.

The team with the most points will be the winning team.

Coaching points:

  • Quick movement to get away form the defender, first move away form the space second is towards the space.
  • Communicate with your wide player as to where you want the ball
  • Time the run, keep your eye on the ball and commit to the cross

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How can you get away from the defender?
  • How does the wide player know where to put the ball?
  • What can you do to increase you chance of scoring first time?

8. 2v2 in the box for player movement soccer drill

Set up:

  • 10 x 15 yard area
  • 2 teams of 4
  • 2 goals
  • 1 soccer ball per team

Instructions:

This soccer drill for crossing and finishing has a greater focus on how the strikers can work together to create space for themselves and confuse the defenders. This would be a good progression from the previous drill once players have mastered creating space for themselves.

Use the same setup as before the 4 players in middle (2 from each team) attacking and defending crosses depending on which team is crossing the ball. With a first-time finish counting as 3 goals. If the defending team wins the ball they can score in the goal opposite.

Encourage your strikers to coordinate their movements. As one player moves into a different space dragging a defender with them, this has now created a new space for the other player to attack and move into.

for example, if a player starts at the front post and checks to the back post, this has created space for a player to now attack the space at the front space.

Coaching points:

  • Communicate with your teammate so you know who is attacking the ball (defenders and attackers)
  • Communicate with the wide player so they know where to put the cross
  • Drag a defender away to create a new space for your team mate

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How do you know who going to attack the ball from the cross?
  • How will the wide player know where to put the cross?
  • What can you do to create space for your team mate?

9. Finishing from crosses soccer drill

Set up:

  • 10 x 15 yard area
  • 1 goal
  • 6 soccer balls
  • 4 players ( 3 players crossing with 1 striker)
  • 3 cones

Instructions:

This is a soccer drill that focuses on strikers finishing ability from different types of crosses from different angles.

Create your area and set up a triangle with the 3 cones and place the striker inside the triangle, this is the player to who the crosses will be delivered. 1 player will be on the left wing, 1 will be on the right-wing and the last player will be on the touchline to provide a pull-back cross.

Each time the striker has an attempt on goal they much touch and cone that makes up a triangle before the next cross comes in.

If the striker scores goal they will get one point and if they can finish the first time they will get 3 points.

There will be 2 rotations so each striker will have 6 attempts. The striker with the most points will be the winner.

Encourage your wide players to try different ways to cross the ball.

This can be progressed by introducing a goalkeeper or removing the triangle and adding a defender.

Coaching points:

  • Communicate with your teammates to let them know where and when you want the ball
  • Time you run to make contact with the ball
  • Scan the area before the cross comes in so you know where the goal is

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How will you teammates know to when and where to cross it to you?
  • What happens in your make your run too early/ too late?
  • How do you know where the goal is before the cross comes in?

10. Heading 1v1 finishing soccer drill

Set up:

  • 7 x 10 yard area
  • 4 players (2 throwers, 1 striker and 1 defender)
  • 1 goal
  • 3 soccer balls per thrower

Instructions:

This soccer drill can be used to help introduce winning a header against a defender. Set up your area with your defender and striker in the middle with your 2 throwers off to the side.

The throwers will alternate throwing the soccer ball to the attacker, they can vary the way throw the ball to mimic different types of crosses.

For each goal the striker scores that will be one point.

Swap the players around so everyone has a chance to be the defender, attacker, and thrower.

Coaching points:

  • Use quick changes of pace and direction to lose the defender
  • Communicate with teammates throwing the ball in so they know where to throw it
  • When heading keep your eye on the ball, using your forehead to make contact with the ball

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How can you lose the defender?
  • What can you do to help the thrower know where to throw the ball for you?
  • What technique should you use when heading the ball?

Click here for our step-by-step guide to head a ball with other soccer games you can play to get your players heading the ball.

Soccer drills for crossing and finishing Conclusion

This post has given you practical soccer drills for crossing and finishing that you can use for your soccer teams. The aim of these soccer drills for crossing and finishing was to try and give the players as much variety and repetition as possible in game-like scenarios.

If you have and other soccer drills for crossing and finishing that you have used then please share using the comment section below.

Also is you know a coach who would find these soccer drills for crossing and finishing useful then please share using our social media buttons.

If you like the animated drills check out the soccer coaching software I use.

Reading soccer books to improve yourself as a coach is a great way to increase the speed at which your players develop.

Thank you!

Toby

Related Posts:

My recommended soccer eBook to help your team score more goals from crosses

Use code AFL-PHGD at the checkout for 5% off this eBook!

Soccer drills for crossing and finishing PDF

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