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Set Pieces

Scoring goals is the best thing about soccer. Ask any player.

As a fan, it is the best thing to see. so, is it any wonder than when your team get a corner or a free kick in a 'dangerous area' you get excited? Yet, do you know what the success rate of goals from these chances is?

You might be surprised...

I followed a mindset, for a long time, of simply restarting quickly from any set piece. The idea was that it would impress surprise on the opponent and we would have a tap in on an open net, because for some reason the goal keeper not being ready meant we would walk the ball into the net.

Reality check. Our players were often more confused, out of position, and unprepared. The idea of it 'going without saying' really didn't work with the young players I was working with.

In my defense, my mindset came from growing up in England and experiencing the 'proper' set piece. One which was lumped high into the box for everyone to scramble for. As a player, regardless of my size, I was supposed to fight alongside the big defenders and get my 'head on the ball'.

However, I have since learned that both have their place, but neither are totally reliable and the Premier League stats* reinforced this for me recently:

In the 2017 / 18 season there were:

3,120 corners. Those corners lead directly to 120 goals.

- A conversion rate of 3.85% or 1 in 26.

339 direct shots from free kicks. Of those shots, 16 goals were scored.

- A conversion rate of 4.72% or 1 in 21~.

Now, whilst I do not have the statistics from my own experiences, I know that 'lumping it in the box' and 'quick and short' were not providing consistent outcomes and there must be some thought in the right areas of the field. Therefore I have broken the field into 3 zones and have created set piece action plans for the players in each of those zones, which include corners and free kicks. Why? We can do better and be much more purposeful in all of those zones. We can be direct, or be inventive with indirect attacks. I created a framework and I allow my players to run with what they think to be appropriate in those moments.

Why do you need this?

The printouts provide as fantastic visual piece for your players to look at. They can 'study' it and you can laminate them to keep in your game day bag for a quick reference. The gif's simulate each option for each set piece. What better way for your players to see it in action?

You don't have to worry about 'making' routines up. Your team can be more purposeful and be comfortable in the key areas of the field, leading to more success.

Speed up to success - sharing these materials with your players ahead of time, in pre season or even in the morning before practice will help them become familiar with what is being asked of them.

There are multiple options so you can take one or two and focus on them for each practice, week, or microcycle.

Check it out here. I'm excited for your team to try these routines out and score goals!!

​*stats from

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