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Corner kick

Simple corner kick drill to practice attack and defense

Amateur football teams often don’t practice set pieces. However, your team must master corner kicks to be successful in a tournament. This post details a simple corner kick drill that is proven to be effective to score goals .

At professional level, it is quite difficult to score a goal from a corner kick. A study shows that 6% to 10% of corner kicks result in goal. There are no statistics for amateur football, but we can assume the percentage of goals scored from corner kicks is higher. Some reasons for this include: lack of defensive discipline or organisation when defending corner kicks; goalkeepers height and skills; quality of the pitch; etc. You probably get the picture, and I’m sure you’ve been in the receiving end.

You don’t want to be the team whose players are running like headless chicken when defending a corner kick or that crosses a ball to nobody when executing a corner kick. The following drill will help you out. This simple setup will give your team structure when executing and defending corner kicks.

Setup

For this drill you will need half of a 11 aside pitch and 3 small goals. The small goals will be evenly distributed in the midfield line. The drills is played with 9 players attacking, 9 players defending and a goalkeeper.

This drill  is based on stats from another study. Most goals scored in corner kicks come from the center of  the box and the near post. Therefore, the setup of the attacking team is simple: a player outside the box ready to receive a pass on the first post and three players grouped in the penalty spot.

The remaining attacking players are arranged this way: two players close to the goal line blocking the goalkeeper, one player outside the box in line with the penalty spot and a player staying back half way between the box and the midfield. Defensive players mark one on one, except two players that stay covering the posts.

Corner kick drill

Rules

The main objective of this drill is to practice corner kicks, both in defense and attack. For attackers the objective is to score, for defenders is to protect the goal and to quickly transition into attack.

  • 2 teams of 9 players.
  • 1 goalkeeper.
  • It is a competitive drill where both teams can score and a tally is kept.
  • The attacking team scores in the normal size goal.
  • The defensive team scores in the small goals.
  • Play starts always with players arranged as shown in the picture above.
  • Only 3 touches are allowed (e.g.: 1 touch to control the ball, 1 touch to change direction and 1 touch to pass the ball).
  • If the ball goes out, start the game again.
  • Execute series of 5 corner kicks from each side of the field.
  • Other than the above, all official football rules apply.

There are some variations that you may want to consider such as defenders needing to complete a number of passes before scoring in the midfield goals. Be creative and add your own rules.

Lessons to be learned

The objective of this drill is for your team to know a simple corner kick setup. This way your team will be organised and know what to do when executing a corner kick.

  • Players positioning. Players will know where to stand in a real game scenario. This is definitely the case for attacking players. Defensive players will have to improvise as opposing teams will use different tactics. However, the two men staying at the posts will be nominated before the game to avoid discussions during the match. The remaining defenders will take one on one marks.
  • Finishing. Touches are limited to three, therefore attacking players must finish quickly.
  • Transition from defense to attack. Since limited touches are allowed, defensive players need to circulate the ball in an orderly fashion to score in the small goals.
  • Playing as a team. Although individual skills play a part in the game, limiting the time players can hold the ball forces everyone to play as a team.

Other fun training drills

I hope you found the above drill useful. There are plenty more fun drills that will help your team to work as a unit. We will add more games to the list below as we post them in our blog:

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