Vary Your Team’s Free-Kicks By Going Over The Wall

Although many young players haven’t developed the coordination to make difficult kicks, occasionally you’ll find you  have a player who sees that it’s possible to dip and swerve a ball directly from the ground and over the defensive wall accurately enough to beat a goalkeeper.  This requires a great deal of skill and feel for the ball and few players of Under-14 have yet developed this feel, but sometimes one of your players, maybe not even your best all-around player, has the unique skillset to pull off a kick like this.

As a coach, you need to maximize the time given to you for practices. Young players learning the game probably shouldn’t have their time utilized by learning over-the-wall kicks. This is more or less something one or two of your players might pick up on their own and you’ll find you can use their skill in a game and possibly develop these specialized kickers for just this purpose.

This kick is performed by striking the ball firmly with the inside of the toe with the foot pointing forward. When the ball is struck on one side rather than dead center it gives a big spin which will make the ball swerve. If the ball is struck with the inside of the right toe, the ball will spin anti-clockwise and swerve to the left. It’s possible, with a great follow through, after a much angled approach, to create some top spin as well which will cause the ball to dip in flight. This means that you are able to play a ball firmly into the top corner of the goal, over the top of the wall and away from the goalkeeper.

Before you go rushing off to practice, you must realize that it will take a long time before you are proficient enough to attempt this in a game. If you are unsuccessful in a match and the percentages are against you, you may have wasted a situation which could have been utilized more reliably with another method. So, an over-the-wall kick can be a great tool but remember to only use it when you have the best possible chance of being successful.

This is a good method for players to practice on their own. Hang a t-shirt from the crossbar up in a corner and see if they can get the required move­ment in the air and hit the target. Try it against the wind and they’ll see it move a lot more. Keep this one up your sleeve until you are reasonably sure of success.

Apart from the direct shot, it can also be useful to lift the ball over the wall to a teammate. Some teams afford cover to this area behind the wall but often they do it at the expense of covering another area. It’s well worth organizing methods of getting into this vital space.

This can be done in several ways, but it all depends on the player who is chipping or lifting the ball over the top. Place a player on the end of the opponents’ wall and as the ball is flicked over all he has to do is turn and he is on to it ready to volley it home.

Your team may prefer to work your free-kicks wide of the wall or even find a way through it, but if you have a few routines for going over the wall you are widening the scope of your attack. Even though the percentages are against you succeeding if you strike directly at goal, this chip into the top corner over the wall may well catch unwary opponents by surprise.

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