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Football Tactics

Tips for free-kick training sessions

Whether you are a top-level professional or a keen amateur player, mastering the art of taking free-kicks is a tremendous skill to acquire.

The best free-kick exponents spend endless hours honing their craft on the training pitch to give themselves a crucial edge in competitive games.

Although you may not have the same time available if you ply your trade at grassroots level, there are still some drills you can utilise to improve your free-kick skills.

With that in mind, read on as we offer several valuable tips for free-kick training sessions, starting with the acquisition of some essential equipment.

Free-kick mannequins

If you want to improve your free-kick training, investing in football mannequins is the perfect solution.

Free-kick mannequins are designed to simulate the defensive wall that players generally face during attacking set-piece situations.

They remove the need for players to have teammates standing in the firing line during free-kick training, thus making the process more efficient.

By replicating in-game situations using different free-kick distances and wall widths, you will be able to unleash your set-piece skills to another level.

Free-kick drills with mannequins

Listing every possible free-kick scenario you could try with mannequins would undoubtedly take up a sizeable portion of the internet.

However, focusing on a couple of primary training drills will help you develop the necessary skills to tackle most free-kick situations.

Wall defence

Before adding greater degrees of difficulty to your free-kick training, working on your accuracy when faced with a defensive wall is important.

You can practice free-kicks over different distances and angles and use various widths of mannequin walls to mix up the difficulty levels.

The ultimate aim is to repeatedly hit the target with your free-kicks, preferably finding the top or bottom corner of the goal to make the shots harder to save.

Concentrate on your approach angle, foot placement and which part of your foot makes contact with the ball when taking each free-kick.

Experiment with different ball techniques such as striking the ball with the inside or the outside of the foot to determine if you have a free-kick speciality.

Defensive pressure drill

Recreating defensive pressure situations requires the help of at least one teammate, but you can still use the mannequin wall to create the main obstacle.

To set up this drill, choose strategic points on the pitch to practice attacking free kicks. Set up the wall and position a teammate on the end of it.

Have another teammate roll the ball to you, which is the trigger for the defensive teammate to rush towards the ball to try and block the free-kick.

This drill tests your ability to cope under pressure and execute shots which avoid the onrushing player and the mannequin wall to hit the desired target.

Adding a goalkeeper into the mix increases the difficulty of this drill and brings it closer to the situations which present themselves in competitive matches.

The final word

The old adage of ‘practice makes perfect’ rings true where free-kicks are concerned. In simple terms, the more work you put in on the training pitch, the better you will be in match situations.

The best free-kick takers repeatedly work on their technique to ensure they are in prime condition to take advantage of the opportunities handed to them.

Set-pieces play an integral role in football at all levels, so don’t waste the chance to maximise the possibility of adding to your goals tally through well-taken free-kicks.

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