Crossing the Ball – Quality of Serve

Are there any high-quality crossers in today’s game?
Crossing the ball is an art that few players possess today. For most wingers and fullbacks, it is one of their main characteristics. In today’s game, we are seeing a steady decline in the art of crossing but when executed correctly, they still add a flare to the game.

A good cross involves different skills, timing and positioning being most important. Furthermore, the player crossing the ball must choose where to put the ball and with which type of curve to apply. Some opt for crosses to the space between the center backs and the keeper, as this is known as the danger zone. A cross curving away from the keeper, also known as an out swinger, is always more dangerous if the keeper opts to leave his goal line to parry the ball away. However, some crosses curving towards the goal, or in swingers, surprise keepers and result in direct goals.

A team can have the best striker in the world who has a knack for getting on the end of crosses, but without good delivery he will struggle to find the back of the net. The quality of the cross is half a goal; the crossers must find the perfect target in the area and aim towards it either with a low cross or an airborne ball. 

In modern football it isn’t easy to find high-quality crossers. Today’s wingers and fullbacks tend to provide more depth and short passing that in the past, leaving crosses as a second option when it comes to attacking. The curving crosses of Garrincha or David Beckham are barely noticeable in today’s game.

Nonetheless, some players are still known as worthy crossers. David Fox of Norwich City is an excellent example, especially when it comes to corner kicks. Last season, his crosses constantly found Grant Holt and Steve Morrison in the 18-yard box. Another player in England who delivers quality crosses is Leighton Baines. The Everton left back has been excellent this year in assisting his numerous striker teammates. 

Can you name any world class crosser in modern football? Let us know!

For more tips from SKLZ and to learn similar techniques used by Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, the best free-kick takers and the best dribblers check out "The Training Pitch" series and more videos.

To further your crossing ability, SKLZ recommends using the KicksterTM Nets which are lightweight and easy to set up goals that will help you practice your crossing anywhere. SKLZ also recommends using the D-Man which is used as defenders to practice crossing away from them.

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