Set Pieces – Become a dead ball specialist
Set pieces are a great oppitunities to score, research has shown that just under half of all goals scored come when possession was regained immediately following a set piece. Set pieces involve throw ins, corner kicks, free kicks and penalties. So why do set pieces produce so many goals? Well a number of factors contribute to this. Firstly, a set piece is a rehearsed (hopefully anyway!) play that has been practicedon the training pitch. Like anything in life, the more practice, the better the results. Thereis less down to chance, instead the players involved should know how the ball is goingto be delivered and where it is to be delivered and their respective roles in the set piece.
Opportunity Comes with Set Pieces
Being awarded a set piece in a dangerous position is also motivational to the team. The team may be struggling to overcome the opposition in open play, they may even be becoming demotivated, then all of a sudden they are awarded a set piece and the team then believes this an opportunity to score.
Set pieces involve striking a dead ball, which is easier to play and the result will be much more predictable and consistent. Usually there are a couple of players on the team who are the “set piece specialists” or “dead ball specialists” and you can often see those players taking the free kicks, corners and penalties.
Defenders must be at least 10 yards from the ball as it is being struck, therefore there is less pressure on the player delivering the set piece and as a result the quality of the ball, be it a pass or a shot, should be higher than achieved in open play with more pressure on the player taking the shot or playing the pass. Set pieces allow teams to place more of their players in attacking positions. For example, in open play it is unlikely that there will be more than three players in the penalty box when a player crosses the ball. However, on a corner, there can literally be ten attacking players in the box (injury time, team down by a goal, last set play of the game and the goalkeeper comes up and gets in the penalty box.) Players involved in set pieces have a higher level of concentration and a higher level of commitment. There is no hiding in a set piece, each player has a specific job to do.
One mistake coaches often make it to try and have too much variety in their set pieces. They may try to rehearse six different kinds of corners and as a result not execute any of them well enough. Variety is not the spice of life when it comes to set pieces. For example, one of the most successful soccer clubs in N America has the exact same corner on the left wing, the exact same corner on the right wing, all the way up through their youth academy!
As a player, you want to be the dead ball specialist. Work hard at practice and in your own time, so that when your team is awarded a corner, free kick or penalty, that’s your
Time to shine!