Combination Play With Crosses

October 2, 2020

Combination play with crosses is a great drill for players to work on combination play, finishing, and crossing.

Set Up

Create a playing area with a large goal on the baseline of the pitch and a smaller goal opposite around 25-30 yards out depending on age. Create 3 'cone gates' 4 yards outside the 18-yard penalty box, with one gate on the right side of the box, one central and one left, you can angle these in towards the goal.

For this exercise you will need a goalkeeper (green), five attacking players (red), three defending players (yellow) and two wingers (blue). If numbers are over eleven then rotate players in and out.

1 of the attackers will start where the small goal and the balls are, 3 of the attackers will each start before the coned gates and the last attacker will be the striker in the box.

1 of the defenders will start as a defensive midfielder just behind the coned gates with the other two defenders playing as centre backs inside the box.

The two wingers will operate one side each and will start outside the penalty box.

Have a large supply of balls located in the small goal.

How It Works

To start the exercise the red attacker closest to the small goal with the balls, will collect a football and play to one of the three attackers before the coned gates. Whichever attacker receives the ball will take their first touch through the gate their located at then move towards the penalty box. The other attackers will join in creating a four vs three overload in the attacking teams favour inside the box. The aim for the attacking team is to score a goal and the aim for the defending team is to stop a goal from happening or to play out to the small goal if they win the ball.

The attackers cannot use the wingers when attacking the box/goal.

The wingers come into play when the attack is over, either the ball has gone out, a goal has been scored or the defenders have played out to the small goal. As soon as that has happened then the winger delivers a cross for the attackers to attack and defenders to defend. Once the ball from the cross has been defended, scored or the ball has gone out. Then players reset to original starting positions and repeat the same process, except the winger on the other side will deliver the cross at the end. This is also the chance to rotate players in and out of the attacking and defending teams.

Coaching Points

Combination Play:

- Quick decisions (can we speed up the play)

- Fewer touches (moves the ball quicker)

- Creativity (e.g flicks, tricks, one two's)

- Off the ball movement (attacking runs, freedom to move around, disguise)


- Decision making (balancing getting shots on goal with not forcing the shot)

- Decision making (what kind of strike, placement vs power)

- Finding a yard of space for the shot

- Disguise on the shot


- Decision making (type of cross, whipped, low driven, lofted)

- Decision making (aiming for an area or aiming for a player)

- Weight and accuracy of the cross