Set-pieces are the winning difference

Standing on the touchline not a week goes by without me hearing an opposition coach bemoan a poor throw-in or the loss of the ball from a weak goalkick. And it isn’t just negatives – I’ve seen two fabulous free kicks in youth games at the weekend and also in the Premier League some fantastic free kicks that were innovative and sensational to watch.

I make sure all my players at every age group are prepared when it comes to set pieces. It is a great way to catch the opposition unawares by practising the game so players are doing it correctly and taking advantage of unprepared opponents.

Here are the best ways to practice set-piece play:

How to coach attacking throw-ins - part 3

Start by making sure your players know how to take a throw-in.

First of all, every one of your players should be able to take a throw-in – they need to be able to take long throws and short tactical throws. I use How to take long throw-ins which includes technique and a game, and Feet first which explains the best way to take short throw-ins.

For the younger age groups, my AskDave subscription question service is always getting questions about being organized at throw-ins – read my advice to the question “My team are disorganized from throw-ins”.

Goalkeeper kicking is always difficult right through to Under 18, but with the right technique, you can ensure your players don’t give the ball away. Use my EasiCoach Goalkeeper Kicking activity to give your players the correct technique for clearing the ball and try the game Goal Kick, which helps your players to get into the correct positions to receive the ball from the goalkeeper.

For corners, your team must be organized to defend opposition corners and to attack their own corners. The two best sessions are How to set up an attacking corner and How to defend at corners.

For free kicks, you should be experimenting with all sorts of different ways to create goals, but you can start with Unstoppable free kicks and develop your team’s ability to come up with different ideas from there.

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