12 Pro Defending & Attacking Soccer Drills & Tips for Corner Kicks

By | Last updated October 25, 2017

Whether you’re attacking or defending:

Corners can be super TOUGH for you and your team.

Things can get far easier for you though…

…if you just learn some smart and valuable tips and practice a few great soccer drills for corner kicks.

And guess what? That’s precisely what I have for you in today’s post.

Introduction

Corner kicks can be a source of great frustration at all levels of soccer.

Whether it’s the professional level, where teams leak goals inexplicably, or at the youth level, where a lack of organization is rampant, corners can sometimes feel like the bane of your existence as a coach or player.

However, they do not have to be at all!

Corner kicks can both win and lose you games, but if you stick with a few winning tactics and tips, you can improve your record drastically.

That’s exactly what we have in store for you in this article: some fun soccer drills for corner kicks and a few awesome attacking/defending corner kick tips!

Attacking Corner Kick Tips

Tip 1: Mix Up Your Runs

In soccer, a run is any play made by the attacking player in which they create a chance for themselves or their teammates to potentially score a goal.

A player can make a run with or without the ball, but in this instance we are talking about without the ball.

To mix up your runs:

You want to make sure that your players pick different places to run to (i.e.: near post, far post, middle of the goal or penalty spot).

If you have one player going to each place, it frees up chances for you.

Tip 2: Block off the Goalkeeper

This is a popular tactic in the professional ranks because smaller, less-skilled teams need a way to level the gap.

(To be more accurate, I have actually seen bigger teams do the same, at times, to put pressure on younger or not-so confident goalies.)

They do this by placing someone literally almost on the goalkeeper’s toes.

You can also take advantage of this if you choose to do so.

Please note that you must face the ball and you have to work passively. You cannot throw, push or do anything more forcibly than with any other player.

Tip 3: Don’t Be Afraid to Play It Short and/or Quick

I absolutely love doing short corners.

This is a great option if you are a smaller team or are a youth side.

If you see that the defense is having trouble getting organized and you don’t have a player in the middle, you can play the ball short and fashion a great opportunity by pulling defenders out of their usual positions.

Defending Corner Kick Tips

Tip 1: Make Sure All Players Are Between Someone on Your Team and the Goal

If you have a player that is standing between you and the goal, you are asking for disaster.

The reason why is simple:

If it comes to them, they will have a much easier chance to score.

By placing yourself in between a man and the goal, you ensure yourself of being able to run forward to clear the ball.

Not doing so could also lead to the dreaded own goal!

Tip 2: NEVER Let the Ball Bounce In the Box

This is a general tip for all defenders.

But regardless of your position (forward, midfielder or defender) should never, ever let the ball bounce in the box.

This is especially the case on corner kicks.

The more the ball bounces, the longer the opposition has to get more men around the ball.

Even if it takes a volley or a long hoof to get it out of danger, this is acceptable! Don’t take the added risk of letting the ball bounce; head or kick it out as soon as possible!

Tip 3: Put Players of Similar Size on Opponents…

…so as to give you a better chance of winning a header.

This should be fairly common sense.

The tallest player of your team should be against their tallest player and then so on and so forth.

Sometimes, they might have someone that is just much bigger than you.

For those types of plays, you just have to get in between them and the goal and challenge them as best you can!

But putting your tallest player on them could do the trick for you.

Attacking Corner Kick Drills

It’s now time for me to share with you a few attacking soccer corner kick drills.

Drill 1: Runs, Runs, Runs

What you need: Before you even get the soccer ball out, make sure to explain to your players everything about runs and their importance.

One thing to do that can save you a lot of hassle is to predetermine each player’s run. Whether you do this by their position on the field or something else is up to you.

How to:

  1. Have one player going to the near post, one to the far post, one to the middle (where the goalkeeper should be), and then one that stays back a little at the penalty spot.

    This seems very elementary, but if they cannot do this without the ball, they will never be able to do it with the ball on the field in the game itself.

  2. You can add the ball in to the equation, whenever you are ready to go.
  3. Repeat this drill as many times as required until your players get a good hang of it.

Drill 2: Short Corners

What you need: In this drill, you need two players that are very good on/with the ball. They don’t have to be your best athletes, but they do need to pay close attention.

How to:

  1. Have your teams set up as if they are playing a normal game and then kick the ball out of bounds for a corner.
  2. From there, you need someone to quickly retrieve the football, set it up and then a man/woman to run toward him/her quickly.
  3. Take the corner quickly and shortly.
  4. This way they’ll have a natural two-on-one — or even a two-on-zero — advantage.
  5. Then they have options of passing between themselves (remember to watch for offsides), or they can pull the ball back to the top of the box for a shot from one of their teammates!
  6. Just keep practicing over and over again!

Drill 3: The “I’m Scared” Drill

I had a coach in high school that designated a week the “No Scaredy-cat Week” due to how the team had been a little soft the week before.

At practice that week, he told us that he wanted us to go 100% and that injuries would just be something we’d deal with after.

One of the drills we did was centered on corner kicks. In this drill, he wanted both the attack and the defense in each others’ faces.

So, that’s what we want here.

What you need: You want to see them going at each other when the ball is in the air, but you don’t want to see elbows or fists.

How to:

  1. For this drill, you are looking to teach your players that when the soccer ball is in the air on a corner that they have to fight hard and win it.

    If they don’t, they will miss out on a golden opportunity to get a goal!

  2. If you happen to have a really timid player, have them go up against the coach. They won’t take it near as easily on an adult (because they’ll think they can’t/won’t hurt them)!

Bonus Drill: Attacking Corner Kick Drill Video

I’ve decided to add an extra bonus drill to the twelve drills and tips listed in this article, but this time the drill is explained through video and audio.

Watch Dave Sarachan of the LA Galaxy as he describes an attacking corner kick drill that even the pros put into action during official matches:

Defending Corner Kick Drills

Here are three good defending corner kick drills to add to your training.

Drill 1: Man-to-man

What you need: Line up two teams of players here. You can even mix them up throughout the drill.

How to:

  1. After explaining to them the principles listed on our How to Defend a Corner Kick article and above, let them organize themselves. (In a game situation, you will NOT have time to do all of this.)
  2. As a coach, you need to know how they are going to respond, so let them have a run at it by themselves and then you can make adjustments.
  3. In this drill, have someone knock the ball into the middle, from the corner of course, and make sure your players are on the correct opponents relative to their size.

Note 1: Make sure they don’t let the ball bounce and that they stay in between their man and the goal.

Note 2: In addition to this, you can always decide to add a man or two to guard the posts to help out the goalkeeper.

Drill 2: Zonal Marking

Let’s now do a “Zonal Marketing” drill.

What you need: For this drill, start without a ball.

Split your teams into two, but emphasize that they are not marking a man.

How to:

  1. Simply take a ball and throw it into zones at first. Make sure your players understand what they are asked to do.
  2. If it’s in their zone, they go to clear the danger.
  3. If they don’t get it cleared, everyone is to converge on the ball to choke the life out of the attack.
  4. From there, practice it from the corner.
  5. Have them attack the ball aggressively, instead of sitting back, when it is in their zone.

Drill 3: Counterattacking

Here is a really fun one.

What you need: Line up your players in either the zone or man-to-man system, whichever is your preferred method. But this time, you are practicing going down the other end quickly.

How to:

  1. To practice this, you don’t even need to take a corner. Just have the ball in the box somewhere, with any player that was defending.
  2. What you want to do is have a man or two down the field already.
  3. To get the ball to them, though, you don’t necessarily need to hit it long and over the top. Instead, have two players (preferably a full back or wide midfielder) go out wide as soon as your team wins the ball.
  4. Quickly play it to them, and they should be open as the other team will be narrow from the corner.
  5. They can then rush down the field in the counterattack!

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a lot of facets relating to the taking of a successful corner kick. There is a lot going on in the area and, as such, it can be very confusing.

There is one common theme that is consistently rewarded here, though:

Whether you are the attacking team or the defending one on a corner kick, it is the proactive and aggressive side that typically profits the most.

Very few things fall in your lap in life and, while a corner kick goal could just drop gratefully to you, it is unlikely to happen.

By putting in the time and work and by going out and grabbing the goal or going out and making the clearance yourself, you are always ensuring that you are successful in the end.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading our soccer drills for corner kicks and our tips too; if you did, use our social sharing buttons to share it with your friends.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!
–Coach Mike