Hot cross buns | Soccer Coach Weekly

This session creates chances from crosses and it helps to coach players to move at the right time and into the right places to take advantage of the crosses.

Set up

Set up an area of 40×25 yards with a goal at each end. We’ve used 14 players.

How to play it

Split your squad into 7v5 plus two keepers. Teams play a 3v3 with resting players on the sides. Teams can only score from crosses using either a first-time shot or a header and players must try to cross from three different areas of the pitch.
Play starts with a keeper and the team attacks the opposite end. Whatever the outcome (goal or miss) the opposition then attack, with play starting from the keeper. The attacking team swaps two players after every attack, so they must be quick or the opposition will take advantage of the changeover.
Make this a competition and have goals worth five points and clean sheets at each attack worth one point.


First-time shots and headers are the skills required to score. Speed is vital to get defenders onto the pitch or attackers will take advantage of the space.

    1. Play starts with a pass out from the keeper to one of the wide players. Encourage crosses from the three key areas. Here an attack down the wing results in a cross from the touchline
    2. In the 3v3 the other two attackers must cover the areas in front of the goal and beyond to be in the best position to score

    3. Now the whites attack and try crossing from the second key area, with a tight ball played in from the goal line to one of the players running in
    4.mThe servers now deliver the cross from the third key area, a deep cross from further up the field

    5. Two attackers swap with resting team-mates after each attack, which means opponents must be quick to take advantage of the changeover before the new players have settled into their defensive roles
Charlie Slagle

About Charlie Slagle

Charlie Slagle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Tampa Bay United Soccer Club. Previously he was the Executive Director of the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club in Denver CO, and the CEO of the Capital Area Soccer League in Raleigh NC. He coached the men’s soccer team at Davidson College for 21 seasons, and he was the NCAA Division I coach of the Year in 1992, the Southern Regional Coach of the Year in 1990 and 1992, and the Southern Conference Coach of the Year seven times.

Slagle is a past president of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and a member of the NC Soccer Hall of Fame and the Davidson College Athletics Hall of Fame.

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