Corner-kick routine


Final third


Balls, goal

No. of players


Session time

Session 45mins, game 20mins

This session looks at the art of the corner kick routine.

Set pieces play a vital role in deciding the outcomes of football matches, so it’s crucial for sides to have rehearsed and prepared routines in order to make the most of these unique opportunities.

Corner kick routines are particularly important, and the outlined session presents a firm template on which teams can build familiarity and expertise.

We will start this session unopposed and at walking pace, before gradually stepping up the tempo and adding passive defenders.

What do I get the players to do?

We set up with a corner kicker, an attacking player hovering around the edge of the six-yard box, and four attackers 15 yards out, positioned in a line to the centre right of the goal. There is also a keeper in place.

The corner taker drives the ball in to the player on the angle of the six-yard box. The receiver can either approach late for a near-post header or wait on the edge of the six-yard box and flick the ball on.

Three of the inrushing forwards head towards the goal ready for the flick – albeit by staggering their runs – whilst the player furthest left makes an arched run behind his team mates to receive any ball that ends up at the far post (1a/1b).


• In the first phase, the near-post player prepares to flick the corner into the danger area of the six-yard box


• Players stagger their runs as the ball is flicked into the danger area

In the next set-up, a defender is in place to prevent the flicked corner, while a midfielder provides a short corner option (2a). The corner taker feeds this midfielder on the corner of the 18-yard box, and a whipped ball in across the face of goal invites attackers to score (2b).


• In the next phase, a diagonal ball is played out to the advancing midfielder


• The pass creates a new crossing angle, and a ball to the back post is headed back across goal

How do I progress the session?

To progress, we add a defender and a deep midfielder. The attacking midfielder comes to receive a short corner – he stops the ball dead and the corner taker, having followed his pass, now feeds the deep midfielder on the edge of the box.

The corner taker continues his run looking to drag the defender with him, leaving the midfielder a free run inside the box (3a). This player receives the pass from his team mate and crosses (3b).


• In this variation, two midfielders help to overload the set piece and provide a clever pass in behind the defender


• The resulting cross ends in a chance which is taken because the attackers stagger their runs

Once we’re happy with the execution of these moves, we may add further passive defenders.

What are the key things to look for technically/tactically?

Delivery is vital in any set piece, as is player awareness. Tactically, players must know where and when to go, plus have the ability to stagger their runs.

How do I put this into a game situation?

We play a standard game, halting play every few minutes to award corners or free-kicks, thus manufacturing these rehearsed tactical scenarios. Players must react quickly for the set play that has been called.


  • Ball movementBall movement
  • Player movementPlayer movement
  • DribbleDribble
  • Optional movementOptional movement