Dealing with Crosses: Goalkeeper + Central Defender Cohesion

SoccerSpecific

This functional activity aims to develop the ability and understanding of the roles and responsibilities of Goalkeepers + Central Defenders when facing cross balls from various angles.  The Central Defenders will face scenarios with 1, 2 or possibly 3 Attackers; they must work in unison with the Goalkeeper to deny scoring chances.

Submitted by Wisner Soares, current 1st Team Goalkeeper Coach at Qatar Sports Club (Doha, Qatar), Wisner has a wealth of experience having held multiple positions at the senior level over the past 10 years including Al Wasl FC (Dubai), Al Jazira FC (Abu Dhabi), Al Nasr FC (Dubai).

Having originally completed his Goalkeeper licensing through the Brazilian FA (CBF), Wisner is now completing his UEFA Coaching Licenses through the Irish Football Association (IFA).

You can follow Wisner on Instagram – @Wisner01


Dealing with Crosses: Goalkeeper + Central Defender Cohesion

1.

Setup:

5v5 in Central Area / 2 Central Defenders (4) + (5) positioned in zone outside Penalty Box / 2 Wide Players utilised to cross (2) + (3) – can be Fullbacks or Wingers.

**Extra Central Defenders rest behind goal

Dealing with Crosses: Goalkeeper + Central Defender Cohesion | SoccerSpecific.com
Diagram A

Instructions:

Emphasis is placed on the Goalkeeper and Central Defenders dealing with Cross balls from various angles.  Coach starts play with a pass to either team – opponent DOES NOT apply full pressure to allow successful pass completion. After 8 passes the ball can be passed to either wide player (2) or (3). Immediately 1 or 2 players from the Central Zone must break forward to attack the cross from the wide area.

Central Defenders must work to deny scoring chances.  Wide Player(s) encouraged to cross early within 2 to 3 touches.

*Coach delivers next ball to other team to repeat the sequence

Note: Can introduce a Neutral Player in Central Zone if required to maintain possession.

Coaching Points:

  • Vary the crosses – driven, low, high, bent etc
  • Central Defenders – see the ball and opponent – body-position to increase awareness
  • Goalkeeper angles – be aware of near post danger as well as lofted crosses to far post
  • Communication between GK + C.Defenders is crucial
  • C. Defenders – find the opponent – “Space Can’t Score’ – make contact with Attacker(s)

2.

Setup:

4v4 + 1 Neutral (Green) in Central Area / 2 Central Defenders (4) + (5) + 1 Striker (9) positioned in zone outside Penalty Box / 2 Wide Players utilised to cross (2) + (3) – can be Fullbacks or Wingers.

**Extra Central Defenders rest behind goal

Dealing with Crosses: Goalkeeper + Central Defender Cohesion | SoccerSpecific.com
Diagram B

Instructions:

Emphasis is placed on the Goalkeeper and Central Defenders dealing with Cross balls from various angles.  A 4v4 +1 takes places in the Central Zone; after 5 passes an attack can take place.

NOTE: The Striker must be included in the buildup – this forces the Central Defenders into realistic game-like situations outside the box. After the minimum 5 passes the ball can be passed to either (2) or (3).  Immediately the Striker (9) plus 1 or 2 players from the Central Zone must break forward to attack the cross from the wide area – this creates either a 2v2 or 3v2 situation for the Central Defenders / GK to deal with.

Central Defenders must work to deny scoring chances. Wide Player is encouraged to cross early within 2 to 3 touches.

*Coach delivers next ball to other team

Coaching Points:

  • Vary the crosses – driven, low, high, bent etc
  • Central Defenders – see the ball and opponent – body-position to increase awareness
  • Goalkeeper angles – be aware of near post danger as well as lofted crosses to far post
  • Communication between GK + C.Defenders is crucial
  • C. Defenders – find the opponent – “Space Can’t Score’ – make contact with Attacker(s)

3.

Setup:

4v4 + 1 Neutral (Green) in Central Area / 2 Central Defenders (4) + (5) + 1 Striker (9) positioned in zone outside Penalty Box / 2 Wide Players utilised to cross (2) + (3) – can be Fullbacks or Wingers.

**Extra Central Defenders rest behind goal

Dealing with Crosses: Goalkeeper + Central Defender Cohesion | SoccerSpecific.com
Diagram C

Instructions:

Emphasis is placed on the Goalkeeper and Central Defenders dealing with Cross balls from various angles.  Left-Sided Wide Player (3) has delivered a cross to the far post.

One Central Defender has marked the Striker (9) on his run to the near post; Other Central Defender must deal with the cross while being aware the opponent (8) arriving at the far post area.

Coaching Points:

  • Vary the crosses – driven, low, high, bent etc
  • Central Defenders – see the ball and opponent – body-position to increase awareness
  • Goalkeeper angles – be aware of near post danger as well as lofted crosses to far post
  • Communication between GK + C.Defenders is crucial
  • C. Defenders – find the opponent – “Space Can’t Score’ – make contact with Attacker(s)