Where we place the ball for a goal kick is drilled into us from an early age and sticks with us for the rest of our career, take a moment next time there is a game on to watch what happens when the ball goes out for a goal kick!
I bet it looks something like this, ball goes wide of the left post – keeper gets the ball back and places it on the left hand side of the 6 yard box at the edge and then will smash it as far as they can down the left wing where around 6-7 players are hoping it comes close enough to them to win the header.
What happens when the ball goes wide of the right post? Exactly the same but on the right hand side of the 6 yard box and ball goes down the right wing. Surely this can’t be the best option?
Lets look at some of the disadvantages of doing this:
- You aren’t playing to your strengths, if you have a tall right winger who can win the ball 9 times out of 10 and you are smashing it down the left wing 50% of the time then you are wasting an opportunity.
- The other team know where the ball is likely to be going and can put a lot of defensive players in close proximity of where the ball is likely to land making it difficult / impossible to bring the ball down.
- If you are trying to play short then the forwards only have to close down 1-2 players as they can see which side you are going to play to.
Some keepers will pick which side of the 6 yard box they want to kick from to work to their and their team’s strengths which is a great start, but the best option is to take them from the centre of the six yard box.
So what are the advantages of kicking from the centre of your 6 yard box?
- It forces the team to spread out, so the defence has to spread out thinner giving you more opportunity to pick out a player likely to win the ball as you can now go left or right with ease.
- Want to play short? Now you have the opportunity to play to your back four rather than just the 2 on that side of the area without playing across your goal.
- You are in the centre of your goal if it goes horribly wrong – Man City vs PSG anyone? Would Joe Hart have saved this if he played the same pass from the middle of his goal?
Technically the ball will have to travel slightly further to reach the wing, but we are talking an extra couple of yards so unless you really struggle with distance (check out our guide on improving distance!) then this won’t be an issue.
The other thing to consider is that it isn’t worth doing this if the area in the centre of your six yard box isn’t suitable for taking goal kicks from, if it’s a mud bath in that area then use where is best in the six yard box for kicking.
Some keepers have already started to use this technique like David De Gea, but others are still stuck in their routine.
Give it a try at your next practice or game and see how it works out for you! Let us know the outcome!