In soccer today, more than 50 percent of all goals are scored from "set plays." Many of these are from free kicks in or around the penalty area.
There are two types of free kicks.
(1) An indirect free kick, awarded for a minor foul, such as obstruction or dangerous play. The ball must be touched by another player before a goal may be scored.
(2) A direct free kick, given for a major offense, such as deliberately kicking an opponent or a hand ball. On this kick, the ball can enter the net directly.
Note: When a major foul occurs against an attacker inside the penalty area, a penalty kick is awarded. On all free kicks, opponents must be at least 10 yards from the ball. Defensively
Diagram 1 shows how many players are recommended for a wall on a free kick around the "area". In the center, where a six-or even seven-man wall is warranted, some goalkeepers request that the central player in the wall move away so the keeper can see the ball clearly. Others prefer a soldi wall, eliminating possible deflections.
Diagram 2 shows a fourman wall in correct position.
The goalkeeper, who aligns the wall, stands at the near post and positions the first player in line with the ball and the post. To protect against a bending kick, he then edges the player over one body width. The other three defenders go shoulder to shoulder with the first player, forming a compact wall. The goalkeeper then takes a position across the goal line to cover the other vulnerable part of the goal. Don't hesitate to involve all 11 players in free kicks if necessary. These are dangerous situations. Offensively
Diagram 3 -- Shows an offensive free kick often used by the 1981 Diplomats. Three players, A, B and C, are immediately involved. A, standing beside the ball, pushes it to B, who stops it and steps back for C (who should have a strong, accurate shot) to drive the ball at goal between the wall and the keeper.
An alternative would be for player B, who faces player A, to allow the ball to pass him for C or D to shoot from a better angle.
Once the shot has been taken, other players should be ready to capitalize on rebounds or deflections. A Note to Coaches
Do not practice complicated set plays. Simple, realistic ones will give you the best results. Choose two or three different types and work on them in practice.