On average, there are 11 corners during a 90-minute football match. They present excellent attacking options for the team on the attack and can prove a nightmare for those trying to defend. Whatever position you play, it’s crucial you’re aware of your role when it comes to the inevitable corner. If you and your team are on the attack, you really need to be on the ball!
Corners are perfect goal-scoring opportunities. They require you to use your initiative, communicate and above all, work as a team. Without practice, you’ll struggle to succeed. But with persistence and the right attitude, corners can become as lucrative as penalties. So we’ve come up with some top tips for pulling off the perfect corner.
First thing’s first, preparation. Understand who’s going to be taking the corner and what set-play you’re going to try and pull off. Every player on the team should known their role and their position. Spend plenty of time on the training-field practising set-pieces and work out what works best for you and your team.
Signal to your teammates
You’ve stepped up to the corner flag. Your teammates are counting on you to deliver an accurate, well-placed ball. But before you take the corner you need to make sure your teammates know the intended target and intended outcome of the corner. Your teammates positioning in the box will depend on the style of corner you’re going for, but it’s always a good idea to have a player positioned on each post. It’s your job to signal to your teammates what tactic you’re going for. When on the training field, try different methods and practice a range of tactics. Set specific signals for set pieces that work particularly well.
Master the in-swinging corner kicks
In-swinging corner kicks are directed away from the net, but as the ball reaches the near-post it begins to swing back towards goal. The trajectory of the ball means it’s already heading towards goal, which is going to work to any attackers advantage. However this also means it’s easier for the goalkeeper to intercept the ball mid-flight. Naturally, in-swinging corners are easier to get right if the corner kick-taker’s strong foot matches the equivalent corner (e.g. right-footed, right side of the goal).
Master the out-swinging corner kicks
Opposite to the in-swinging, out-swinging corner kicks bend away from the goal line as they approach the posts. This might seem unnatural as the ball moves away from the intended target, however it makes it much harder for the keeper to leave his line and collect the ball. With more practice, you’ll be able to put more bend on the ball and thus confuse the keeper! But bear in mind you’re primary aim is to reach one of your teammates, not to confuse the keeper.
Consider the short corner kicks
Short corner kicks can be perfect for confusing the opposition. Signal for a teammate to run up and approach the corner flag. If your opponents are still trying to organise their defensive line, there’s a chance they won’t have even noticed the corner being taken. Short corners present you with a different plan of attack. Maybe you want to dribble at goal, or play it out wide – either way you now have a number of options at your disposal!