Free Kicks in Shooting Range - Setting Up The Wall
In the modern game a large percentage of goals are scored from set plays. One of
the most dangerous types of set plays is the free kick that is within direct shooting
distance of the goal. Many outfield players now specialize in these situations and
being able to make their task more difficult is of utmost importance to the goalkeeper
if he wants to be successful.
In most of these situations it will be impossible for the goalkeeper to cover the
entire goal by himself. He will require assistance from his teammates.
This assistance will usually come in the form of a defensive "Wall" placed 10 yards
away and directly in front of the ball.
These Free Kicks may be Direct or Indirect.
When dealing with direct or indirect free kicks within shooting range, the first
question always asked is 'How Many Players in the Wall' or 'Do I Even
Need a Wall'? There is no clear or definitive answer and there are many factors
to consider. How close is the ball? What is the ability level of the kick taker?
What is the ability level of the goalkeeper? Etc.
The diagram above can help to serve as a guideline for determining the minimum number
of players needed in the wall. Distance of the ball from the goal is the main determining
factor and the goalkeeper may decrease the number of players who are in the wall
if the ball is further away, or he may not require a wall at all.
The goalkeeper is always in control of how many players are in the wall. It is the
goalkeepers decision, and his decision alone. The goalkeeper must communicate quickly
and effectively to his teammates when the time comes. He should shout and use his
hands to signal the number of players required in the wall.
Here we clearly see the goalkeepers signalling how many players in the wall.
Here we see some examples of how many players might be in the wall based on the
positioning of the ball. Again, we empahasize that these are merely guidlines that
we recommend. Every goalkeeper is different and only experience will tell the goalkeeper
what works best for him.
Once the goalkeeper has decided how many players to have in the wall, he must then
ensure that the wall is lined up properly to effectively cover one side of
the goal. We highly recommend that the wall be positioned to cover the side of the
goal at the nearest post to the ball. The goalkeeper is then responsible to cover
the arear at the far post of the goal. If the ball is positioned in a central area
the goalkeeper can choose one post or the other to be covered by the wall and then
he will cover the open side.
When lining up the wall there are two different options. Some suggest that you line
up the last man in the wall with the near post. Others recommend that you line up
the second last man to cover the near post. Our recommendation is to use option
#2 if you know the kick taker has the ability to bend the ball around the wall at
the near post. Better to be safe then sorry.
If possible, you should also try to line the players up from tallest to shortest
so that the tallest player is in line with the near post.
The goalkeeper should then take up a position in the goal so that he lines up with
the last player in the wall. This will give the goalkeeper the best option to see
the ball as it is kicked. The goalkeeper should try to avoid standing behind the
wall as he will not see the ball at the point of contact and this will cause a delayed
Once a free kick has been given it is someones responsibility to make sure that
the wall is lined up properly. The person who lines up the wall will be the choice
of the head coach. Some coaches prefer an outfield player to line up the wall, while
others prefer the goalkeeper.
The person responsible for lining up the wall will stand in front or next
to the near post. He will then communicate with the `Ànchor Man`. The Anchor Man
is the player designated to stand at the end of the wall closest to the near post.
Often times the Anchor Man will turn around and face the direction of the goal so
that he can clearly see what direction the wall needs to move. Once the wall has
been lined up, the Anchor Man will then turn back around to face the ball.
The person responsible for lining up the wall should use both his voice and hand
signals to communicate with the Anchor Man so there is no confusion. The player
yell Right! (pointing to the right), Left! (pointing to the left) or Stop! (hand
up). If the goalkeeper is responsible, once the wall is lined up, he should quickly
move back into position in order to be able to see the ball.
BEWARE! The Quickly Taken Free Kick
When the opposing team is awarded a direct or indirect free kick they are not required
to wait for the whistle before putting the ball back into play with a quick shot
or pass. They are only required to wait for the whistle when specifically instructed
by the referee. This will only happen if the attacking team asks for their required
yards or the referee feels a defender is encroaching on the ball, in which case
a yellow card may be issued.
Here we clearly see the referees signalling to wait for the whistle.
As the goalkeeper, do not get caught leaning on the post trying to set up the wall
unless the referee has signaled that the attacking team must wait for the whistle
(see video below). If the referee does not signal to wait for the whistle then the
goalkeeper must remain in position to save any quickly taken shots at goal.
Don't Let This Happen To You!