General principles for defending
all kinds of free kicks:
Hold the line. Make sure that the defense does
not collapse right into the goalmouth, where it’s easy for attackers to
score in a scramble.
Hold the line at the edge of the penalty area most of the time
For close in free kicks, hold the line no nearer in than the
Stay between attackers and the goal. As
attackers move, stay with them keeping between attackers and the goal
Mark tight. Players who are man marking must
play the man first. Don’t worry too much about the ball – stick
tight with the opponent. Be within touching distance at all times.
Be alert. Dead ball defending means
getting to the second ball first, before the opponent.
Push out. As soon as the ball is cleared out of
the penalty area, all defending players (including midfielders) must
sprint to push up out of the box. One slow player can leave every
attacker onside. Several slow players simply invite the attackers back into
the danger zone.
Make a wall. The number of players in the wall
should range from 1 at about 35 meters out, to 4 (or more in 11 aside) for
kicks right on the edge of the box.
The goalie sets up the wall. It’s the goalie’s
job to position the wall – players in the wall must listen to what he says
The wall stays still. It should not jump around.
The goalie must have see the ball all the way.
The wall should cover one side of the goal, while the goalie covers the
rest. The goalie must have a clear view of the ball as it is struck. See
below for details.
The following sections give
detailed instructions on what to do to defend against very common dead ball