EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Free kick practice

David Beckham used to improve his free-kicks at Manchester United by firing the ball through a car tyre hanging from a goal. This fun activity will improve your players in the same way.

Set up

Use the penalty area of your pitch and tie a couple of hula hoops to the corners of a goal and use poles to section off the goalmouth.

How to do it

Over the course of your session, playing this with two or three players each time is a good way to take a break and have fun. Points are scored as in the diagram and if a player hits the bar above the 15-point sections, they score five points. Hitting the bar anywhere else scores 0.

Technique

This is all about practice. Becks would spend a lot of time practising his free-kicks from just outside the box and this is something you could get players doing at home. Lots of goals come from free-kicks accuracy is more important than power and in youth soccer because the goalkeeper will struggle to get anything in the corners.

Free kick practice

    1. Players need to concentrate on accuracy to score as many points as possible
    2. You need three balls either side of the penalty area to test players’ skills

Free kick score

    3. If a shot hits the bar over the corners of the goal players score five points. In the middle of the bar it is zero points
    4. Add a goalkeeper to make it more realistic when players are shooting

Set piece practice

    5. You can also add a time limit giving players 30 seconds to use all the balls. This will add pressure to the session
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