Types of Corner Kicks


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Soccer offensive corner kick options expand significantly as players get stronger and their kicks become more accurate. After reviewing the aspects of “The Corner Kick – Law 17” and “Introducing the Corner Kick – Offense,” coaches may expose their players to these options and the techniques involved in taking different types of corner kicks. After doing so, coaches will have to evaluate the strengths of their various players and implement one or more of the corner kick options into their team play.

All offensive corner kicks are planned restarts which should contain at least three major elements: 1.) a designed, set play; 2.) a designated target area, target player, or target receiver; and, 3.) a proper service kick by a designated corner taker. Further, other players may be assigned to positions and functions intended to create misdirection or to influence defenders away from the target. Corner kick plays are generally characterized by the target area, or location, to which the kick is to be sent. The most common corner kick plays are:

Far Post Corner – The most common or “traditional” type of corner kick, this kick is directed to a location generally outside the farthest point of the Goal Area but inside the Penalty Area. (Also known as a Long Corner or a Deep Corner.) The objective is almost always to take advantage of the team’s best header. Usually, a group of two or three players make runs toward the corner from which the kick is being taken, in order to try to clear space. The receiver is expected to intersect the service for a header on goal. The service is a lofted instep drive. Spin may also be imparted to the ball, making it an “inswinger” corner kick, where the ball bends toward the goal, or an “outswinger” corner kick, where the ball bends away from the goal. The inswinger kick has the advantage of directing the ball toward the goal. The outswinger kick has the advantages of directing the ball into the path of the intended target player and away from the goalkeeper. (Far-post corner kicks are sometimes called “deep corners,” “long corners,” or “real corners.”  Inswinger is sometimes called “in-swerve” and outswinger is sometimes called “out-swerve.”)

Sample Soccer Far Post Corner Kick
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Near Post Corner – A corner kick directed to a receiver usually moving to a spot approximately two yards inside (toward the center of the goal), the closest goalpost and approximately six yards into the field, as the kick is taken. (Also known as a Near Corner.) The objective of this play is to take advantage of a defense that has not placed a defender at the near post (or the defender does not move aggressively to the ball). The service usually involves a strong, very accurate and straight, airborne ball, approximately waist high. The receiver may volley or head the ball on goal. Alternatively, the receiver may re-direct the ball back into the field to a trailing teammate.  The heading player may also use a glancing header to redirect the ball past the goalkeeper to the opposite post.

Sample Soccer Near Post Corner Kick
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Medium Corner – Any of a number of corner kicks directed to an area essentially in front of the goal. The “6-corner” is directed to the middle of the outermost line of the Goal Area. The “12-corner” is directed to the Penalty Mark. The “18-corner” is directed to the middle of the outermost line of the Penalty Area. The objective of these plays is to take advantage of weak, or short, central defenders or to test the ability of the goalkeeper. In any of these cases, the receiver usually starts a run from near or just outside the Penalty area in order to time a proper header. The service is a lofted instep drive.

Sample Soccer Medium Corner Kick
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Top-of-the-Arc Corner – A corner kick directed to the farthest point of the Penalty Area away from the goal, 18-yards into the field. (Also known as a Pull-Back Corner.) The objective of this play is to take advantage of a space which is usually weakly defended or undefended because most of the opponents are setting up for a traditional corner kick. The receiver may start at, or run into, this location. The service usually involves an instep-drive kick sent briskly and accurately to a spot on the ground. The receiver may shoot or pass the ball inside.

Sample Soccer Top-of-the-Arc Corner Kick
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Short Corner – A corner kick which is generally directed to a teammate starting approximately 10-yards or closer to the kicker. For young players, this is a short kick usually involving an inside-of-the-foot pass that doesn’t require great power. For older players, the objective of this play is to draw defenders away from the goal so that an ensuing cross meets with less opposition. The receiver usually passes to another player running toward the goal, but may pass the ball back to the original kicker.  This also has the advantage of the first receiving player being inside the defenders’ 10-yard restriction zone (often identified on the field by a “hash” or “optional” mark.

Sample Soccer Short Corner Kick
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Skip Header Corner – A corner kick which is generally directed to a teammate starting close to the near post, this looks similar to the beginning of a “near-post corner.”  The ball is sent on a flat, straight, airborne trajectory to the teammate’s head as the teammate takes one or two steps toward the ball.  The teammate then performs a skip-header (or flick-on header) to send the ball across the mouth of the goal toward the back post.  The skip header should maintain the ball’s original trajectory.  The target is then at the back post.  (Also known as a Flick-on or Back-header corner.)

Sample Soccer Skip Header Corner Kick
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Direct Score Corner – A curved or bending kick intended to go directly into the goal from the kick, without being struck by anyone else. (Also known as an “Olympico,” or Olympic Corner, meaning “heroic,” it does not refer to “The Olympics” or “The Olympic Games.”) No traditional receiver is designated. The service is a strong, lofted drive with spin imparted to the ball such that it first arcs toward the field of play and then returns back into the goal. This is an “inswinger” kick almost exclusively taken using, a.) the right foot at the left corner arc, or b.) the left foot at the right corner arc. (This type of corner kick is rarely attempted and even more rarely successful.)

Sample Soccer Direct Score (“Olympic”) Corner Kick
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Coaches may choose a play to use from the types of corner kicks listed above, trying them out in order, or use one or more of them based on the abilities of their players to perform the skills required for each. Selecting the corner kick taker is based on the distance, height, and accuracy of the service required by the play selected. Selecting the target player is based on the aggressiveness and, often, the heading ability, of the receiver. These are both examples of specialists in the sport of soccer. Corner kick takers must not be concerned about whether or not they are going to kick the ball out of bounds. They must want to take the kick. They are usually the best passers or crossers on the team. Receivers are often tall and have the desire to get in the thick of things and score. They are usually the best headers on the team.

Over time, coaches should teach all of the types of corner kicks to their team and introduce all of their players to each of the positions and movements associated with all types. This has the added benefit of letting the players also see what they will face when having to defend corner kicks. Start with no defenders and the minimal number of attackers. Add attackers until the entire team knows their positions. One can then add cones or other items as distracters, then add stationary defenders and then live defenders. One must then drill and practice, replicating game conditions, so that all players will recognize when a corner kick is being awarded and then get into their positions promptly.

With further time, coaches may modify corner kicks in any way they may want to try to gain a tactical advantage when they are taken.

Soccer Coaching Tips:

– See Jump Heading and Advanced Heading.

– Strong wind can push balls toward the goal, away from the goal, past the target, or back toward the kicker. When strong wind is present, it must be recognized and addressed by changing the play, the direction of the kick, or the weight on the ball.
– The ability of the opposing goalkeeper can be challenged with a kick sent right to him. Otherwise, a general objective of corner kicks is to keep the ball away from the goalkeeper.
– Players should be reminded that the original kicker may not touch the ball again until someone else has touched it. Particularly with near-post corners, the ball has been known to rebound off of the near-post of the goal and back to the kicker.
– Corner kick takers must wait to take the kick until the referee acknowledges that he is ready.
– The corner kick taker can use a signal for the start of the play. This is often just done by raising and lowering an arm.
– Each type of corner kick may be given a number or signal to be used within the team.  One of these is for the kicker to bounce the ball a number of times before setting it.
– Players need to be reminded to move out if the kick lands and starts bouncing around in order to, a.) not be offside; or, b.) get into defense quickly if necessary.
– Receiving or target players, when first learning corner kick plays, tend to overrun the ball. They must be taught how to wait and properly time their runs.
– Coaches must prepare their team to be able to respond quickly to any type of clearance successfully made by the defense off a corner kick.  This is especially true for a clearance that could result in a quick (fast-break) counter attack.
– After a corner kick is taken, players need to be prepared for bouncing balls, pinballing, deflections, multiple headers, and rebounds.

© Copyright, John C. Harves