Corners – how to practice?


I helped run the training session for our senior team the other night, which is largely where any of my current “coaching” experience has come from [this should change in the next few weeks] and we did a drill on corner taking.

The drill was meant as more of a time-filler because a) the players were all very tired and b) we had a full size goal set-up so it seemed to make sense to make use of it. Anyway, the format was mixed up by using a couple of variables – corners being taken from the left & right, plus we had some free-kicks swung in from a deeper angle.

It was fun, fast and furious but thinking about the session afterwards I realised that it lacked purpose and it lacked an objective which got me thinking; how would I run a coaching drill on coaching if it were my session, or my team?

So, a few thoughts on what I might consider if I were to run a session on corners:

Defending

  • Who are my defenders?
  • Which player is responsible for organising the back line?
  • Does he/she know what they’re responsible for organising?
  • Are they going to mark in zones or man mark?
  • What’s their starting position?
  • Are we having players on both posts?

Attacking

  • Who are my attackers?
  • Am I placing a player in front of the goalkeeper?
  • Where are the heading players going to start?
  • Who’s running where? [Front post, far post etc]

Corner takers

  • Inswinging or outswinging corners?
  • Signal to state type of corner?
  • Variation of pace?
  • Opportunity to try something new

I find this type of thought process interesting because taking a corner could be seen as one of the simplest aspects of the game and in many regards it’s very much treated like this. You don’t often practise corners, especially not at a grassroots or lower senior level (based on my experience) because everyone likes to think they know what they’re doing. I think the closest I’ve ever come to seeing some kind of planning for a corner was to inform a player he was to stand on the ‘keeper when attacking, and which defenders were to cover the posts when defending.

But to get back to my comment, I find this interesting because as soon as you start to dissect the various components of a corner you find that there is indeed quite a lot to it. I’ve classified three key elements to a corner but I’m sure there are more that I don’t know about and I’m sure there are more finer points to coach then I have listed above.

To me this highlights everything which I’m finding interesting at the moment about football coaching, or at least the reading I’m doing – the sheer depth to every single part of the game. It’s completely engrossing me and I’m hugely fascinated by it.

Next time we practise corners I shall try to influence the drill with some of the thoughts I’ve had above. And, as with all of these posts at the minute, I shall come back and review my thoughts on corners with the benefit of experience!

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About Simon
Grassroots Football Coach

4 Responses to Corners – how to practice?

  1. Consider when defending a corner and assuming you wish to place defenders on the posts, that you put a left footer on the right hand post and a right footer on the left hand post – that way the player is defending the larger part of the goal with their ‘favourite’ foot.
    If the ball falls to the side nearest the post, they should be able to just block the ball with their ‘other’ foot.

  2. Simon says:

    Good point, very good point. I’d never even thought about that, as a player, coach or fan!

  3. Hi there – I wanted to subscribe to your rss feed. But it seems to be down 😦 Can you please check and let me know if all is well? Many Thanks

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