Goalkeepers are expected to be able to setup a wall and defend free kicks but how often has this been discussed or addressed with the Goalkeeper?

How often has this been worked in training?

I have decided to put together a guide which will hopefully be of use to Goalkeepers and Goalkeeper Coaches on how to defend free kicks.

Part 1 is how to set up a wall when defending a free kick.

My first point is going to cover the number of players to use in a wall depending where the free kick will be struck from.

Please see the diagram below to illustrate the number of players used in the wall in relation to where the free kick will be taken from.

Goalkeeper wall positioning
Goalkeeper wall positioning
  1. 1 player in the wall to defend the wide area from the bye line to about 6-7 yards out.
  2. 2 players in the wall from around 7-20 yards out on a wide angle.
  3. 3 players in the wall for a free kick off the center of the goal.
  4. 4 players in the wall for a free kick from central area.

The reasons behind using the number in the wall.

Areas with 1 player in the wall between the bye line and 6-7 yards out is because of the angle most players will aim to cross the ball into the box or cut back to allow a strike where more of the goal is available to the player striking the ball. If they do however try and take on the strike it will have to be special to beat the wall and then beat the Goalkeeper.

Areas with 2 players in the wall. The striker of the ball is now starting to fancy there chances. They have more of the goal in there sites and due to the distance the can now have multiple choice when striking the ball. There options will be strike the ball at goal, in swinging / out swinger cross with power or floated. Hold the ball up for attackers to meet cut back or short free kick.

Area with 3 players in the wall. Chances are the Goalkeeper is going to be facing a direct strike or deal with a high ball from this area. 3 players have been placed in the wall to try and prevent the strike on goal and force the attacker to choose another option.

Area with 4 players in the wall. 4 players in the wall to stop the shot from happening or to block the ball if the shot is on target.

If you have any questions or feedback happy to discuss please find me on twitter @greeney1987

Part 2 will on all about Goalkeeper positioning when defending free kicks.