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Defending Crosses

Function Objective(s)
  1. Develop the ability and technique to defend crosses.
  2. Develop the ability of the defending unit to deal with crosses.
  3. Improve decision making when defending crosses.
  • Drill No:               FD7
  • Age:                    12-Adult
  • Difficulty:            Medium
  • Area/Time:         44x30yrds  (20mins)
Diagram 1
ORGANISATION:
  • Using an extended 18yrd box marked by cones.
  • 2 Wing players who play on the edge of the 18yrd box (Blue).
  • 2 central forward attacking players (Blue).
  • 3 central defending players (Red).
  • 1GK.
  • Starting Position (SP1) should have a collection of balls.
START POSITION(S):

There is generally one start position for this drill with the player at the back of grid by SP1. A pass is played wide to one of the wing players who serves into the central area.  The type of cross is determined by the coach.

INSTRUCTIONS:

The Blue attacking players attempt to score on the full size goal.  The Red team defends and attempts to sucessfully clear the ball out of the playing grid.

  1. A1 or A2 pass a ball out wide to Winger 1 or 2 (in this case Winger 1).
  2. Winger 2 dribbles/runs with the ball down the line and serves.  The type of cross should be determined by the request of the coach (i.e. low cross, deep and high, inswinging, outswinging, driven, early, etc).
  3. A1 and A2 make attacking runs into the area (near and far post) followed by D1,D2 and D3.  Winger 2 may also be allowed to enter and make an attacking run at the far post if desired.

Once the ball has been cleared (and defending line pushes up) or is played out we repeat the drill on the opposite side.

SCORING:
The attacking team score by scoring in the full size goal. The defending team score a goal by going 8 crosses without letting the attacking team score.
KEY COACHING POINTS:
  1. Defending players should be switched on immediately when the pass is played wide.
  2. Track forward runs.
  3. Remain goal side and if possible ball side also.
  4. Attack the ball and defend the space infront of the attacker.
  5. Defending Triangle - Positioning to be able to see both mark and ball.
  6. Communication and Organisation of the GK and back line.
  7. Cover and Support (i.e. Mark your man and half of someone elses).
  8. Individual defending technique (side on, low centre of gravity, body shape).
  9. Offside Trap if attacking runs are very early.
  10. Second and Thrid phase balls must be cleared.
  11. Once cleared quickly push up the defending line and reorganize.
  12. If GK calls for the ball defenders should screen and protect GK from incoming attacking runs.
  13. Selection of correct clearance method (i.e. head, volley, foot, etc)
  14. Need to head behind/or cross bar?
  15. Can we hold our line so as not to encroach on the GK and not too high to encorage balls inbetween the GK and defending line.
 
PROGRESSIONS:
  1. Add an extra attacker and or holding midfield player to challenge the defence more. (refer to video)
  2. Allow the weak side mid-field players to enter and attack also from crosses from the opposite side. (refer to video)
  3. Add an additional wide play and defender in each wing channel (refer to video) to create a 2vs1.
VARIATIONS:
Add gate goals for the defenders to play/clear the ball through on the edge of the playing area.  This encourages them to clear the ball wide. 
 
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
Communication is key in this exercise. Keep encouraging the defender to talk, including the goal keeper. Developing a defensive mentality and an enjoyment of breaking down their attacks.  Attacking the ball is very import and to defend actively.
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