Crossing is a skill I see many players struggle with, yet I almost never see coaches teaching proper crossing technique.
Crossing is simple to learn and will help you set up goals. While wingers cross the ball most don’t believe the notion that “only wingers should learn crossing.” Every position (except center defenders) will cross during games if they make good runs so almost ever player should learn the skill.
This article will teach proper crossing technique and provides tips on becoming a great crosser.
6 Steps to Learn How to Cross a Soccer Ball
1. Run Towards the Ball
Run straight. When you get close to the ball cut outside for a couple steps than turn your body towards the ball when cutting inside. Imagine running the lines of half a circle.
When you run the half circle correctly you will face the ball before crossing.
2. Look up (optional)
Don’t look up when you’re under intense pressure. Doing so will delay your cross, which may allow a defender to block it.
When you don’t look up, cross the ball into the middle of the box since your forward(s) should be in that area.
Having said that, you should always look up before crossing if you don’t have to cross the ball quickly. Looking up will increase the quality of your crosses.
Looking up lets you see the runs your teammates are making and who’s marked. Use this information to target a specific player and determine what kind of cross you will use. For instance, if a player is open and making a run to the near post you can play the cross on the ground.
3. Look at the ball
What part of the ball you look at depends on the type of cross.
If you want to drive the ball in the air or cross on the ground target the middle of the ball. If you want to add more loft target the bottom of the ball.
4. Wrap your foot and body around the ball
Angle your feet and body so that they are facing where you want to cross the ball.
Your cross will go too far forward if you don’t wrap your foot and body around the ball. As a result, it will go to the goalie or behind the goal.
5. Cross the ball
Put your placefoot (non kicking foot) even with the ball then kick the part of the ball that you targeted in step 4.
Follow through so that your leg is high in the air. A good follow through will ensure that the ball has enough loft.
Follow through normally if you want to kick a low cross or a cross on the ground.
Read our article How to Kick a Soccer Ball to learn proper kicking technique (applies to crossing).
6. Prepare for a pass
Most of the time your crosses will end in a goal, out of bounds, in the goalie’s hands, or to defenders (who will clear the ball).
However, sometimes the ball comes back to you either in a rebound or a pass back out to the wing. Be ready to receive the ball and think about what you’ll do if you receive it.
4 Soccer Crossing Tips
1. Start with a stationary ball (when learning to cross)
Crossing a stationary ball is easier than crossing a rolling ball. So master crossing a stationary ball before you try crossing a rolling ball.
2. Learn to beat defenders than cross quickly
Crossing is easy when you have open space but most of the time defenders will try to block your cross.
Learn how to beat a defender then cross quickly before he recovers. To do this, learn how to turn your body and legs rapidly without using a half circle run (covered in step one).
3. Cross to different areas
The middle of the box isn’t always the best location for a cross. Cross to areas like the near post, back post and top of the box when you see a teammate making a run to those areas.
4. Look for teammate(s) with good finishing ability
If you cross consistently to a player that scores consistently you will be very effective on the field. Cross to effective player(s) as much as possible.
Having said that, don’t develop tunnel vision for one teammate as you may miss another teammate that is in a great position to score.