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Hints for optimizing corner kicks in defense and in attack.

In high level soccer, an enormous percent of goals are scored with the head, after a cross. But crosses often canít be accurate because theyíre made under pressure. So, what is the perfect cross, kicked without pressure?

Easy. A corner kick.

Hints for the team that defends against a corner kick.

Nine players have to work together to neutralize a corner kick. The other two will be the forwards that will position themselves to be ready for a counter attack. One of them will stay between the big box and half field and the other at half field.

What are the 9 players doing?

The most important is the keeper. Heís responsible for catching or punching any ball that comes in the whole surface of the keeper area. Itís very curious that the little area is called that, but hundreds of times I see keepers looking to an opponent who jumps and SCORES, I repeat, jumps and SCORES while the keeper is looking at him, as if he were a statue, frozen in the keeper area! Why the keeper doesnít come out and jump in his area and reach the ball with his hands, 2 feet above the head of any forward, is beyond my comprehension.

Two defenders stay at the posts on the goal line, with one hand on the post and, NEVER, leave that position until the keeper yells AWAY.

Here is the interesting part. What are the other six doing? If you know how football works, youíll see that for every situation there is a specialize team that enters onto the field to face it. They have to do ONLY ONE FIXED PLAY and theyíre specialized in doing only that. Itís easy in a sport with teams of 45 players, and the coaches can choose the 11 that can enter in any moment during the game. Soccer is different, so the same players have to learn to become a specialized team to face a specific situation.

This having been said, the six players will become the Ďspecialized teamí that, facing a corner kick, will do this:

They set themselves in a grid 2/2/2 in front of the goal, a little behind the first post, facing the corner kick and cover a certain area where the ball will probably land after the cross.
Please forget the opponents! Itís ridiculous to mark and follow them anywhere. Look at the ball and act like the forwards. Run in the direction of the cross and jump as high as you can, like them, but just direct the ball outside instead of in the goal. If you keep following the forwards, they are focused on the ball thatís coming, so they will jump and score while you keep looking at them instead of the ball.

Hints for the team that attacks on a corner kick.

If I see a player kick a corner straight into the hands of the keeper in the middle of his goal one more time, I swear, Iíll enter on the field and strangle him right there in front of everybody! Maybe this would help not to see this crime another time. (The crime of crossing to the keeper, not of strangling someone).

So, the corner should be kicked with a bend trajectory that will arrive around the penalty kick spot, AWAY from the keeper.

This fixed play needs 8 players.

One kicks the corner.

One has to mark the keeper. To do this, he will stay BEHIND him, not in FRONT, otherwise the keeper will constantly come in front. Donít move until the corner cross comes. If the keeper stays there, NOW come in front and donít let him see whatís happening. If the keeper comes out, follow him and jump, anticipating the magic moment in which he reaches the ball.

What are the other six players doing?

One positions himself a couple of yards in front of the first post toward the corner. If the kick is short, heíll prolong the trajectory of the ball, surprising all the defenders.

The other 5, position themselves at the corner of the big area like a Ďblockí in basketball.
When the ball comes from the corner, theyíll run toward the goal, spreading in the whole area. One of them will be in the magic position where the ball lands and, in that moment, heíll transfer his horizontal speed to vertical speed, arriving where NO DEFENDERS IN THE WORLD could, by jumping from a standing position.
Result? A clear opportunity to score.

Good luck to the defenders and the attackers. Luck is a component that everyone can think about having or not. Letís say that being in the right position and doing the right thing, helps A LOT in being lucky.

Let mediocre people say that they didnít succeed because they were ďunluckyĒ!

Coach Gianni

Posted on 17 Apr 2006 by coachgianni
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