EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Turn free-kicks into goals

Free-kicks are important: fact. So important that between 40 and 50 per cent of all goals scored originate from set-pieces. And it’s clear from the pros that practice makes perfect.

Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale prepares to take a free kick for Wales

Gareth Bale has scored some fantastic free kicks for Wales and Real Madrid – when Ronaldo allows him to take them of course!

Bale says: “I practise my free-kicks after every session, for between half an hour and an hour.”

But often in youth soccer you may not be the tallest team. Crosses, or even chips from central areas into the box are of little benefit. But by being switched on, your players can still make the most of attacking freekicks.

Practice some creative ones that don’t involve crossing the ball – ones that are played on the ground behind the defence. Look at Barcelona: always first to the ball, always in position, looking to thread a quickly taken free-kick to a team-mate in a dangerous position.

As with shooting, preparation and practice are key to turning free-kicks into goals. You don’t always need to set up a free kick to practice quick movements to score a goal.

These two sessions are great to help develop a player’s free kick technique from this activity and game

These two tactics can give you good options for ideas to build on if your team finds it difficult to head the ball

Or if you have a great kicker of the ball you can shoot like Bale

And if your team can create from crosses with headers or volleys try these

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