How to defend at corners

This session looks at the roles of defenders and the goalkeeper in corner kick situations. It’s vital that, when setting up to defend a corner, each man knows his exact task, working as an individual and as part of a bigger unit within the penalty area.

Set up

Balls, bibs, cones and a goal. Use the attacking third of your pitch with your full squad.

How to do it

Whether manmarking or zonal marking, defending corner kicks is a core match skill at any level, and this session aims to provide a platform around which teams can confidently defend and clear their lines.


The zonal block team look after the sixyard box and are responsible for drilled crosses into the key zone in front of the goal. Their primary focus should be on attacking the ball.


Man markers patrol the areas of the 18-yard box not picked up by the zonal markers (i.e. from 6 yards to 18 yards). They must deny space, staying concentrated on immediate opponents as well as the ball, whilst being aware of blocking tactics.


• If the attacking team puts a player on the keeper, that man becomes the keeper’s responsibility, providing he’s comfortable on crosses and can rely on his centre-half marking the zone. If the keeper doesn’t want to take responsibility for the player, the man at the back post area moves in to mark him.
• Clearances should be high and wide with applied pressure from designated players at the edge of the box


Positions to defend corners


Man marking at corners

    The man markers approach from the edge of the penalty area at the same time as attackers. Defenders will be skin tight and responsible for the opponents’ main attacking threats from corners.
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