Johnnie Jackson on...
The basic rule for getting in crosses is to get half a yard on the defender and try to whip it in. I don’t necessarily aim for a player in the box, instead you can sometimes pick out areas to hit, particularly that space between the goalkeeper and defenders, which is always going to cause problems of some sort.
If you can hit that area, that’s where the strikers will want it, so it’s more than likely that’s where they will be running into. Defenders running back into the box don’t like dealing with crosses into that space, so it’s always a good area to hit.
It’s important to always have a little look up, just to see where the defenders are and what positions your strikers are taking up. If you feel you can find one of your strikers then send over the cross for them, if not then hit the space for them to attack.
If you can see that you’re striker is on the shoulder of the defender, if you whip it across the ground, then he’s probably not going to get there, so then you’ll try to send the ball across in the air for him to challenge. But if it looks like the striker is going to get in ahead of the defender then it would be best to whip over a quick, low cross for him to attack.
It depends where you are as well. If you’re at the by-line, you’d probably check the goalkeeper’s position and chip one to the far post for someone to hopefully nod in, or if the goalkeeper has left a big space at the near-post then try to whip it in low and early.
There are no hard and fast rules, but the most important thing is to look up and see what’s happening in the area.