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Why you should practice set-pieces

One of the problems my U9s had this week was giving away the ball from goal kicks. Even though the opposition have to go behind the retreat line they were still very awkward in the way they played the ball between themselves and hesitancy allowed the opposition to score twice when they won the ball off us.

I have no problem with them trying to play the ball around from goal kicks but they were quick to ask me why they had lost the ball – it was the pressing and hounding from the opposition that they hadn’t experienced before which they found hard to cope with. All in all a great lesson that gave us something to work on in our training session.

It is important that players are prepared for all the set-pieces in a game as these can become troublesome areas for young players to cope with. After all these moments happen a lot in matches and players must grow their confidence in dealing with them because as they get older the situations become far more competitive.

So it is important when you practice the game that you analyse and make sure your players are using set-pieces correctly helping them also to take advantage of unprepared opponents.

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

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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