CROSSING INTO THE BOX –  part one (english)

CROSSING INTO THE BOX – part one (english)

17 kwietnia 2018 0 przez Radosław Bella

So time ago I read the article on Keep The Ball Blog John Cartwright’s “The lost “arts” of crossing and heading”. I was very inspired by this great coach and I have huge respect for him! I decided also to write some notes about crossing.

What determines the good and succesfull crossing? Is this more talent of players without the ball or with the ball? Are there any intentions behind crossing? Or is thi just kicking the ball?? What factors have influence to good crossing?

I would distinguish 3 phases having a huge impact on whether the cross will be effective.



It is known that most of goals were scored from the central zones of the penalty area (see below). In the first twelve Premier League games, out of 309 goals scored (not including own goals), up to 239 fell from the area shown in the picture.

Thus, one can draw a theory that borders on the certainty that during crossing we have to surround this region with our players, and probably we will increase our possibilities to score a goal.
There is always the question How many players should run into the box? It depends, among other things, on who is crossing (full back, winger etc.). It is also based on the game plan (do we play more often from a counterattack or more often in a positional play), do we have a tall players in our team? etc. There is no certain answer to this question.

Very often (at least it results from my analyzes) it is a number from 3-5 players. Fewer people in the penalty area, of course, can produce an effect that more goals are scored, but it is rather an exception than the general rule. In the film below, you can see how one player has a poor chance to take a shoot.

It can be concluded that we need more players in the penalty area. However, this is not about quantity! It is also important WHERE we run in?


In the above film, three italian players are running up in to the box, but nobody ran into the crucial area, where the most goals are scored.

Nobody is in the most important zone, despite the relatively large number of players there.

Another important thing is HOW we run? Very often coaches talk about “winning defender’s back”. A lot of world-class players do that during crossing: Ronaldo, Aguero, Griezmann or even our polish national players: Świerczok or Milik.

The following video will show this action (movement):

It is a big profit for an incoming player because his defender (marker) does not see him and the ball at the same time.


Remember that players who attack the penalty area face the opponent’s goal and run ahead. They have to control first of all what is happening in front of them. In turn, the defenders who come back, have to watch the ball, what is happening behind them and the opponents as well. In the movie below TOP level.


Let’s get back to the number of players. Sometimes, when analyzing games, only part of the image can be seen. Opponents only see what’s in front of them.

How many people (except player with the ball) are in the penalty area from the perspective of the defenders?







I think everyone will answer that it’s four players. And that’s what they want for the team which is in attacking. You have to cheat the defending team. Probably you have been “fooled” as well. The best cameras in football are our eyes. A head has the function of mobile tripod. The attacking team must use the wrong perception of their opponent. The same moment / the same action from a different perspective. How many people are now in the penalty area, but from the perspective of the attackers?

Different perspective, different reactions!

All described details, in my opinion, may improve the efficiency of finalizing our crossing. Of course, a lot depends on the quality of the cross, but before it happens, “the good luck” must be helped. Next week, I will write the second part of the article. I will try to expand the subject and answer the following questions: what happens after the cross? Why are the players who are out of the penalty area important? and how our behavior can affect the efficiency or lack of effectiveness of our cross. At the same time, I would like to remind you that all articles on the blog are only subjective notes of the author. Soon part II !!!