The five to 10 seconds it takes to set up and execute the corner kick are among the most exciting seconds any sport has to offer. Bodies are flying, diving and jumping, all in an attempt to slam the ball into the back of the net.
Roughly half of the goals scored in soccer come off set plays, like corner kicks. So being able to defend them—and prevent your opponents’ post-goal celebrations—is crucial. “If the other team is scoring off corner kicks, they’ll probably win the game,” says Daryl Shore, assistant coach of the Chicago Fire. “We work with our goalkeepers a lot, because they’re probably the most important piece to the puzzle of defending corner kicks.”
Here, Shore offers some goalkeeper tips to keep the enemy’s Ws to a minimum:
1. Stand ¾ back in the goal on the side where the corner kick is being taken.
Shore: This allows you to come forward on the ball, which is easier than backing up to make a play.
2. Stand one to two yards off the end line.
Shore: You can better determine the flight of the ball and make a decision on whether to come forward and catch it, punch it or stay in position so your defense can make a play.
3. Position yourself in a half-open stance.
Shore: From this position, you can see the kicker as well as what’s happening in front of you.
4. Set the defense up.
Shore: You want a teammate positioned on each post so they can cover the goal if you attempt to catch or punch the ball. Also, make sure the tallest guy is free to roam around and make a play on the ball.