The importance of free-kicks cannot be underestimated in youth football. As a statement you may dismiss it, you may disagree with it, or you may actually agree but think that practising free-kicks is pointless. However, it’s a statement worth thinking about. MORE
The forward player defending corners
One position you should give a great deal of thought to is the defending player nearest to the corner taker. A strong player in this position offers a number of defensive outlets.
In a lot of youth soccer games you will find that corners are hit to the near post and teams either look to flick it on or the ball skips through to the centre of the penalty area where the defending team has a much harder task to clear the ball.
This is especially true as players get tired and find it hard to get any height on the ball.
This means it is vital to defend the area between the corner kick taker and the near post of the goal. If you leave this area unmarked attackers will have time to use the ball and set up chances for their team mates.
Teams need a player who can stand strong half way between the corner and the penalty area, to intercept any loose kicks that result.
A player standing in that position creates a number of plus points for your team: They can:
- > Win the ball direct from the corner.
- > Prevent any attackers flicking the ball on by challenging for the header.
- > Disrupt the corner taker’s routine so they find it hard to hit the danger areas in the penalty area.
- > Prevent short corners.
Once this position has been claimed by one of your players, use tactics on match day so when they win the ball you leave a player upfield. When the defending player wins the ball from the corner they quickly pass it upfield immediately setting up an attack.