FineSoccer Drill 8 - Finishing
These crossing drills are an easy way to combine passing, finishing, defending and conditioning.
Set up cones in a semi circle as shown in the diagram below:
The cones start on the end line and stay outside the 18 yard box. All of the players, except the first two players have soccer balls.
The first player starts sprinting around the cones and as she gets to the second to last cone, the third person in line passes the ball (on the ground) toward the last cone. When the first player gets around the last cone, she attacked the ball and finished it into the back of the net. When the first player is half way around the semi circle, the second player starts her run.
From this point on, as soon as a player passes the ball, she starts making this run around the semi circle. While it might seem like there would be a lot of standing in line, if you can get the players running at a full sprint, by the time they get back in line, it's time for them to go again.
The next step is for the ball to be crossed in the air so that the finishes are done either with a volley or header.
This drill should be done from both sides and a keeper should be in goal at all times. Ideally, you would have two keepers who are rotating on every 5 shots.
Each shooter is responsible for retrieving their own ball and this should give the players an incentive to get all shots on goal (it's more tiring to sprint after a ball that went over the goal then it is to get one out of the back of the net)
The next step is to set up the field the same way as in the previous drill except now the players start on the sideline (as can be seen in the diagram below)
The first difference is that the players must take the ball down the sideline and then take a touch toward the near post in order to cross the ball away from the keeper. After serving the ball, she continues on the same semi circle run as the previous drill to become the finisher.
The other difference is that after finishing the run, she then becomes the near post runner for the next serve. If the server sees the keeper cheating toward the far post, she may serve it to the near post see below to learn more about near post and far post runs)
In other words, a player takes the ball down the line, serves the ball, becomes the far post runner, then becomes the near post runner before going to the back of the line to start again.
One of the things you will find, is that I do use lines however, I have my drills going non stop so that at no point does a player spend any time standing in a line.
The next variation is to add a second line two yards behind the first line. This line becomes the defensive player and starts defending the server as soon as she touches the ball down this line. This will force the players to go at speed at all times.
Another player can be a designated defensive player who either goes with the near post or far post runner which will force the server to pick out a target based pm what the defender is taking away.
This should be done from both sides and can have many other variations added onto it.
Near and Far Post Runs
First, to make sure everyone is on the same page, the near post is the post closest to the ball. A near post run goes toward the near post (bending the run slightly in order to improve the angle in which to score). The first purpose of the near post run is to draw the defenders and keeper toward the near post. For this reason, it is an unselfish run since done correctly; it will create a scoring opportunity for others. In order to make accomplish this, the near post runner must go at full speed and preferably should be loud so that the players know where she is going. The second purpose of the near post runner is to prevent the keeper from getting any ball played to the near post. In order to do this, the runner must get to the near post early so that if the ball is played there, she can beat the keeper to the ball. If the ball is played behind the near post runner, she should NOT slow down but rather keep the run going (remember the primary responsibility is to draw the defenders and keeper). Once the ball is past her, she should bend her run out and enlarge the goal. This means that if the far post runner gets the ball and shoots back to the far post (which is now a different post then it was when the runners started because the ball changed sides) and the shot is wide ofthe goal. The one thing that the near post runner has to be aware of is to make sure she stays onsides when making this run.
The far post run does NOT go to the far post (which is the post furthest from the ball). Instead, far post runner makes a bending run so that she ends up somewhere around 6 yards wide of the goal (far side) and between the 12 and the 18. The purpose of the far post run is to be able to attack any ball that is played over or behind the near post runner (unless a runner going to the 12 yard spot gets to it first). While the near post runner is very proactive in that she makes her run before the ball is served and almost without regard for where the ball is served, the far post runner is much more reactive and must react to the given situation of where the other runners are and also where the defense is. Any ball that goes through the 18 is the responsibility of the far post runner.
To a large extent, the near and far post run require speed, intensity, timing, communication (if the far post runner doesn't want the near post runner to get the ball, she must call for it), skill and much, much more. Unfortunately, these runs seem to be neglected a lot of the time. The other thing that is needed is desire. A player can make the correct run but if she doesn't want it badly enough, she wont get the ball.
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