trying to score off of a goal kick? Good luck!

A Goal Kick is actually quite a simple process that doesn't take too much reading into. Generally performed by the goalkeeper (unless nursing an injury) is striking the ball from anywhere along or inside of the six yard box into the field. The ball used to need to leave the 18 yard box before a player touches it but that rule has since been changed and teammates of the goalkeeper can now go into the box and receive the ball, defenders can only enter once a teammate of the goalie has touched it.

Complicated I know, but it can be used as an attacking set piece if build up properly. Most teams play the deep option by hitting the ball as far down the pitch as possible to a big target player, other sides like to play the ball short and maintain possession and build out of the back. Generally this is decided by the situation presented at the given time. Again this is a skill that does take some time to really perfect, repetition, attention to detail and proper tactical positioning will need to be executed at the highest level.



goal kick video explanation


goal kick assists video


top 5 things to remember when taking a Long goal kick

1. Get Under the Ball - After all you're trying to hit the ball in the air to a deep target and this requires some lift under the ball. Get your plant foot secured point your foot down and open it slightly and aim to hit under the ball without smashing your foot on the ground. Use the momentum of your run up to really sweep under the ball to get the height and distance on it you want.

2. Over Hit Your Target - If you're going long, then go long. Long goal kicks are generally to clear your lines and perhaps aim for one target player who is strong on the air to collect the ball or win it in the air to flick on. Playing it short or under-hitting it slightly will play into the defenders hands so wherever you are aiming, give it 7 to 10 more yards.

3. Big Follow Through - After you've swung through up and under the ball worry less about where the ball will end up be sure to finish your follow through. Try and land on the foot you just hit the ball with making sure your legs, arms and entire body naturally fall forward with all the momentum you've built up. This will allow the ball to go to its desired height and distance.

4. Big Arm Wind Up - Be sure to allow the opposite arm of the leg you are kicking with to circle back over and around your head to get the full push of your body body's momentum onto the ball. This will increase the power you put on the ball and help with your overall balance when hitting a long goal kick.

5. Get Your Defenders Up & Compact - Before you take your goal kick now that you've decided you're going long make sure your defenders move up the pitch, get into their usual positions and stay compact. You do this just in case you under hit, make a mistake or the opponents win a strong header back towards you. Now that your defenders are set and ready you are much more prepared to deal with this situation


top 5 things to remember when taking a short goal kick

1. Read the Defenders Set Up - Understanding how the opponents are looking to press you off of the goal kick is half the battle to finding the right solution through them. Most will come with a front 2 or 3, find the gaps to play through them which may include skipping your defensive line and playing directly into the midfield.

2. Support the Pass - No matter which pass you look to play always move in a position to support the pass. Give the defender an angle to play you should he need a release pass backwards. Try and think a pass or two ahead so you can be in good early positioning should a pass come your way.

3. Risk vs Reward - I know we all want to play like Barca and City but be sure you understand what is to be gained and what is at risk for all passes off of a goal kick. Yes you want to play with courage but you also don't want to be playing balls across your goal line or silly 2 yard passes to a teammate that is going to backfire.

4. Non-Verbal Communication - With the noise on and off the field sometimes it may be difficult for your teammates to hear your instructions so be sure to have your arms and hands pointing in the direction you want to receive the ball in case of a pass back. Your teammates will see you in their peripherals so open up your arm and instruct where you want the ball to be played.

5. Instruct Teammates - One thing you can always do when building off of a goal kick is help your teammates understand what is going on around them and who may or may not be open. "Turn", "man on" and "away" are common terms a goalkeeper may use to help his teammates make better decision on the ball off of a goal kick.


top 5 things to avoid when taking a goal kick

1. Low Percentage Passes - The most dangerous pass you can play as a keeper of a goal kick is to a center midfielder checking towards with you with a man on their back. Not only is this pass have a low percentage of completion it also is incredibly risky as the best case scenario is they play it back to you and worst case they slip, take a bad touch and the defender takes it and has a clear scoring change. Play the percentages and find teammates that are side on or clearly open.

2. Thinking You're the Playmaker - This is not the time for Ronaldinho no look passes, megs or any other type of difficult passes or dribbling players. Stick to the basics and play what is on and lead the team through the defensive third of the field.

3. Non-Dominant Foot Passes - Due to the high risk nature of playing out of the back off of a goal kick whenever possible lean on passing with your dominant foot. You may think this goes without say but when the margins are so tight this can't be stressed enough, lean on your strengths here.

4. Remaining Stationary - After each pass you make be on the move to support a teammate in case they need to play it back to you. Remaining on the move whether you get the ball or not will keep you on your toes in an athletic position and allow you to be closer to the play to communicate to your teammates.

5. One Time Clearances - If it all possible try and avoid one time clearances if you can take two touches to control the ball. A one time pass carries a larger risk so proceed with caution when trying to clear your lines. These will become especially challenging if you are on the run and the ball is coming at you with some speed so easy on the big leg swing and guide the ball up and away.


what's the new goal kick rule everyone is talking about?


watch how barcelona uses the new goal kick rule to their advantage

Out with the old and in with the new. Off of a goal kick the ball no longer needs to leave the box before another teammate can touch it. Defenders still need to wait outside the box before the ball is touched but this now opens up some new interesting possibilities. Your own teammates in the past were always allowed to stand in the box they just weren't able to touch it, now they can do both! So what does this change really? Quite a bit actually, it affects defensive teams press, attacking teams build up set up and much more.

This new rule adds some more space to work with and different passing options for teams that build out of the back frequently, those who don't it doesn't change a whole of a lot. Defensively teams that press really high have a bit more ground to cover now that players of the team taking the goal kick can come closer to the goal kick taker.

A teammate can still stand in the box even if you are kicking the ball long, there are some logical reasons why they would do this. In case the goalie shanks the ball the defender is close by to defend any attackers or if the goalie kicks it and injures themselves (rare) the centre back is their to stop they next shot (without their hands of course). 


Things to Remember When Using the New Goal Kick Rule:

-The team taking the goal kick can have as many players as they want in the box to receive a pass.

-Defenders must still stay outside of the box until the ball is played.

-Defenders can enter when the ball moves not when another player receives it.

-You can use this to your advantage even if you're going long, fake short to suck defenders in even deeper than by pass them.

-This new rule is a double edged sword, you can now play the ball closer to your own net to a teammate but it also opens up more dangerous passes and decision making so use it when it is on.

-Remember this doesn't magically change the qualities of your players, if you have a team that isn't technically strong and can't connect passes this new rule won't do you much good.

Now if you're the type of team that likes to keep the ball and play out of the back the goal kick may be a great opportunity. Your team could get some possession and rhythm if you play it quickly enough if the striker on the other team isn't lurking. It's not rocket science, you get your outside backs or centre backs close to the ball, play it to them, they turn and away you go. No matter the new rules or tactics that are introduced the game will always come down to the qualities of your players and what best suits them. So when deciding how you want to play remember don't let these new rules fool you into changing the way is best suited for you and your team to play.

If you're looking for some goal kick set ups and descriptive pictures of how you should exploit this new rule then feel free to check out this link on the Variation of Goal Kick Setups.




who can and should take the goal kicks?

Well as soon as you start playing at any type of level that is decent never mind the professional level the goalie is responsible for all of them. Sometimes if the goalie has a foot or leg injury that allows him still to play he may ask another player on the pitch to take it. He'll do this because long kicks tend to put a strain on their leg so to avoid aggravating an injury they let somebody else take it and this is perfectly legal and fine. 

Long or Short?

That's really up to the goalie and the team. Sometimes you want to hit it long and play to a target or just get it out of your defensive third. This is generally the most common play off of a goal kick. Straight down the middle in the air to a target.

Other times playing the ball short has its benefits in terms of keep the ball from the opponent instead of lofting the ball in the air for a 50/50 challenge. One time it may be short, the other long, both will be used over the course of a season, week or game just make sure you know when to play which.



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