Restarting from a long goal kick – Drill

by Pablo M04th Oct 2022

Drill created with Tactics Manager

A bad restart from a goal kick can put your team in danger. We previously discussed a drill to restart from a short pass to a defender. This drill focus on restarting with a long goal kick.


This drill emulates a simple restart that you can apply in an actual match. Therefore you need enough space to practice, at least 50 metres long (half a football pitch size). You can practice this drill with as few as 3 players: a kicker (preferably a goalkeeper), a receiver and a defender. If you have good attendance at training and a full field available, you can run multiple groups in parallel and make it a competition, as it is shown in the picture.

In addition to a full-size field, you will need balls, mannequins (or anything that forces the kicker to kick the ball high), a timer, and cones to mark the pitch, as shown in the picture.


We discussed in a previous post that kicking the ball high up the field is a bit of a lottery. However, in some scenarios, you may still want to kick the ball long: the defenders are tightly marked, the field is heavy due to rain, you want to mix up restarts, etc. So, this drill emulates restarting with a long kick to the midfield and flicking or passing the ball to the forwards. To make it fun, run this drill in multiple groups and make it a competition. Follow these instructions as a starting point:

  • You need 3 players: 1 x kicker, 1 x receiver and 1 x defender. If training with the full squad, divide the group into parallel drills.
  • A player kicks the ball long over the mannequins towards a receiver.
  • Depending on how high the kick gets to the receiving players, they can: flick the ball towards the small goal or control it in the air and kick it to the goal.
  • If the receiving player decides to control the ball, they can only use 2 touches: 1 to control and 1 to shoot at goal.
  • The defender must stop the receiver from scoring.
  • Sliding tackles are not allowed.
  • Standard rules apply when challenging the ball in the air (e.g., can’t push the rival with arms)
  • Swap positions every 5 kicks: receiver becomes defender, the defender becomes kicker and so on.
  • To make it more competitive, use the following scoring system:
    • 3 points if scoring from flicking the ball with the head
    • 2 points if scoring from a controlled ball
    • 1 point for the kicker for each goal the receiver scores

The player with more points after 2 cycles of the drill is the winner. If you run parallel drills, you can choose the player with more points across all groups as the winner or run a knockout competition between the groups.

You can also make alterations to this drill, such as having an actual forward receive the ball instead of using a goal.


This drill will help practice a long goal kick but also help with:

  • Mechanising movements. The exercise simulates a common scenario during a game. The more the team practices this drill, the easier it will become to execute in actual games.
  • Kicking technique and accuracy. Consistency is critical in long balls. Players must use the right power and be accurate with their kicks to make it easier for the receiver.
  • First touch. Because players can control the ball in the air to then kick at goal, players must improve their first touch.
  • Headers. While controlling the ball and shooting are allowed, most long balls require headers. The repetition of this exercise will help even small players to challenge balls in the air.
  • Accurate shooting. While shooting is not the objective of this drill, if a player chooses to control the ball, they must be precise with their shooting to score.
  • Defending air balls. Within the game’s laws, this drill will help players practice all possible tricks to difficult the receiver’s job.

I hope you find this drill helpful. If you like this post, please share it with your friends. If you know about other exercises or have questions, leave a comment on our Facebook page.