How to deal with Corner Kicks

Corner Kicks can be the making or breaking of a Goalkeeper, often that heroic fingertip save will result in a corner kick, the last thing you want is to then give up a soft goal because you get yourself in a mess coming for a ball in no mans land. We’ve thrown together some quick tips for dealing with corners that will hopefully help you deal with corners in the future.


This is the first thing we see so many amateur keepers getting wrong, and starting off in the wrong position will cause you problems no matter how well you do everything else. So give yourself the best opportunity possible by getting it right.

Rather than standing in the middle of the goal facing the ball you should position yourself around 2/3’s of the way towards your back post and tilt your body angle so you are in a open position – somewhere around 30 degrees is a good starting point but everyone will feel comfortable at a slightly different angle.

The reason we stand closer to the back post is because it is much easier and faster for us to cover ground moving forward than backwards, especially in a crowded 6 yard box. To make sure you don’t get caught out by a drilled fast ball to the front post always make sure you have a player on the front post / attacking any near post crosses as most teams do nowadays.

The reason we stand in an open stance at about 30 degrees is because this allows us to watch the corner being taken whilst also being able to see the players to identify threats and to help us decide if there is space for us to come and claim the ball.


Dependant on the level you are playing at will probably correlate to how much pre-arranged organisation your team has for defending corners, if you have a pre-arranged plan then make sure your defenders are doing what they should be! If you are playing on a Sunday and have nothing arranged then as a minimum make sure you have all the opposition players marked up and don’t feel shy to tell your defenders what they need to do! Remember this is your 18 yard box, you control them to make sure that nothing ends up in your goal!
Once everyone is marked up you should hopefully have a spare player or two, everyone and each team seems to have their own preference on this but I like to have a player on the front post and if spare another player free to just focus on attacking the ball.

The final important bit about communication comes once the ball has been kicked and you have decided if you are going to come and claim the ball or are standing your ground to defend a potential shot. The key here is just simply to shout loudly, clearly and as early as possible. There doesn’t need to be any fancy calls here – one word for your decision – either ‘KEEPERS!’ or ‘AWAY!’

Decision Making

The most important bit about defending a corner kick is your decision making, and unfortunately on a website it is pretty hard to train decision making, however we will give you a few pointers that should help.
Firstly and simply – anything that is in the 6 yard box, unless drilled to the near post has to be claimed by the goalkeeper – even if it is hit deep you should still be able to get a hand to it to catch or help it on its way out, especially if you are using our starting position as above.degeacorner

Secondly – if you aren’t sure if you can get to it, don’t call for it – if you call for it you have to expect your team mates not to challenge for the header so if you don’t get to the ball then the attacker effectively has an open goal.

This leads into an important point about being decisive, you need to make your mind up early about if you are coming for the ball or not. Some coaches will tell you that once you decide you have to follow through on your decision, personally I don’t think that’s true – it is far better if you realise you aren’t going to get there to shout ‘AWAY’ and reset your position ready to defend the shot. Obviously it’s not ideal, but you will stand a far better chance of saving the shot than just getting nowhere near the cross and it gives your defenders at least some chance to challenge for the ball.

The final decision to make when coming for a ball is what you are going to do with it, if you can hold it fantastic, if not then decide early to punch it and commit to punching it – there is very little point in coming for a cross in the middle of the area and just patting it down 3 yards away.

The last thing about decision making is that it will only improve with practice, practice corners in training and evaluate how you dealt with them after each match and focus on improving them.

There is so much more to dealing with corner kicks that we could go into, but hopefully these quick tips will help you improve!

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Daz @ KeeperPortal

Owner and creator of Keeper Portal, an FA qualified goalkeeping coach as well as being pretty impressive at keeping balls out of a net.

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