Saturday, October 13, 2007

Free Kick photo

photo from

Soccer free kicks are very dangerous for the defense. The offense (Barcelona) here has many options, including:
going up the gut to #7 (forgive my ignorance of clearly world-class players' names)
going to the middle (the first, best choice, though where to after that?)
going to the far wing (though that limits the surprise factor since he just has to bring the ball back in on a cross)

The obvious choice is to the middle and hope he has an idea for where to go next (shoot? no, too far out). The bold move would be to send it to the star #7 and let him earn his millions. At the lower levels of play, this is still a good move since it says to the defense, "we are so good that we don't have to pass around you, we can go right down the center of the field where all your best players are." But remember to keep the next paragraph in mind constantly.

Soccer is a war. Wars are won be doing what the other team is unprepared for. Soccer games are lost by teams that are uncreative. Normally, the scene pictured above would call for a pass to the middle or the far wing. Those are the best plays on a consistent basis, but frankly they will rarely lead to a goal. Send the ball there 6 times in a row and it will be defended six times in a row, normally. But those six times are preparing the defense to assume that the seventh time will be exactly the same. This is the critical moment in which you take control. Because the seventh time you violate every soccer rule and send it into the face and heart of the defense by feeding the ball to #7. You will not be wasting your six attempts to get the ball to the most obvious player, you will actually be getting ready to win the war.

Will #7 succeed? It really doesn't matter, because your goal is not to score a goal, necessarily. You goal is to create a game environment in which the defense is not sure what your next move is, because THAT is when you will score.

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