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How to Set Up the Wall While Defending a Set Piece for Goalkeepers

The objective of setting up the wall is to cover the most vulnerable areas of the goal. As the goalkeeper, you are responsible for directing the wall to protect the side of the goal hardest to reach.

Communication, precise positioning, and quick reactions are essential components, as the wall must dynamically adjust to the ball’s movement, ensuring the goal remains shielded against incoming threats.

Assess the Situation

It is key that you quickly analyze and understand the situation, distance, and angle of the free-kick.

Questions you should ask yourself and quickly work out the answers the moment a free kick is called against us:

  • Is this a direct or indirect free kick?
  • Do I need a wall based on the distance? How many players must stand in it?
  • Is it possible to take a shot on goal from this angle/distance? Or will this be a cross into the box?
  • How many players are standing to take the free kick?
  • Is the other team starting a play to play the ball quickly?
  • Do I need to call a player to stand on the ball to stall and/or force the free kick to be taken “On the Whistle”?

Request a Number of Players in the Wall

You must communicate to the players closest in a request for the number of defenders that you want in your wall. The closer a free kick is to goal, the more defenders you need in the wall, up to a maximum of five. If there is no direct threat from a shot on goal, you may not need a wall at all.

Cover the Goalpost

In safeguarding the goal during a free-kick, it is crucial to cover the goal’s most vulnerable areas, particularly where the goalkeeper has limited reach. Effective communication, precise positioning, and quick adjustments are key.

Positioning
Stand at the near post meant to be protected by the wall.

Perspective
Use the post for a better view, leaning your head against it.

Communication
Instruct the player opposite you to shift the wall as required, ensuring optimal coverage.

Coverage
Make sure the entire post is shielded by the wall.

Organize, Align, and Adjust the Wall

  • Ensure the wall covers any gaps and stands firm
  • Communicate clearly to organize the wall effectively

Return to Your Position and Be Ready to React

Anticipate the direction of the free-kick and position yourself to cover the side not protected by the wall.

Always be on your toes and be prepared to make a save. Keep an eye on the free-kick taker’s movements and adjust your position accordingly. If the ball passes the wall, react swiftly to make the save.

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