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The History and Evolution of Free Kick in Association Football


Free Kick: A Guide to the Most Exciting Play in Soccer




Have you ever watched a soccer game and witnessed a player score a spectacular goal from a free kick? Have you ever wondered how they do it and what are the rules behind it? If so, this article is for you. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about free kicks, one of the most exciting and important plays in soccer. You will discover what a free kick is, why it is awarded, how to take it, how to defend it, and who are the best free kick takers in history. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding and appreciation of this amazing skill and play.




free kick



What is a free kick and why is it important?




The definition and purpose of a free kick




A free kick is a method of restarting play in soccer after an infringement of the laws by the opposing team. It is called "free" because the player who takes the kick is not challenged by any opponents and can choose how to kick the ball. A free kick can be either direct or indirect, depending on the severity of the offense. A direct free kick means that the player can shoot directly at the goal and score, while an indirect free kick means that another player must touch the ball before a goal can be scored.


A free kick is important because it can create scoring opportunities for the attacking team or relieve pressure for the defending team. It can also influence the momentum and outcome of the game, as well as the morale and confidence of the players. A well-executed free kick can be a game-changer, while a poorly-defended free kick can be a game-loser.


The types and rules of a free kick




There are two types of free kicks in soccer: direct and indirect. The referee decides which type of free kick to award based on the type of foul committed by the offending team. Some examples of fouls that result in direct free kicks are handball, serious foul play, violent conduct, holding, pushing, tripping, kicking, jumping, charging, or striking an opponent. Some examples of fouls that result in indirect free kicks are offside, dangerous play, obstruction, impeding an opponent, or playing in a manner considered by the referee to be unsporting, offensive, or abusive.


When a free kick is awarded, there are some rules that both teams must follow. These rules are:


  • The ball must be stationary and on the ground at the place where the offense occurred.



  • The player taking the kick cannot touch the ball again until another player touches it.



  • The opposing players must be at least 10 yards away from the ball until it is kicked.



  • If the defending team forms a wall of three or more players, all attacking players must be at least 1 yard away from the wall until the ball is kicked.



  • If an indirect free kick is awarded inside the penalty area, the ball must leave the penalty area before another player can touch it.



  • If an offense occurs inside the goal area, the ball is placed on the nearest point on the goal area line parallel to the goal line.



How to take a free kick like a pro




The techniques and tips for different kinds of free kicks




Taking a free kick is not just about kicking the ball as hard as you can. It requires technique, skill, accuracy, creativity, and practice. Depending on your position on the field, your preferred foot, your angle to the goal, and your desired outcome, you can choose from different kinds of free kicks. Here are some of the most common and effective ones:


  • The power shot: This is when you kick the ball with a lot of force and speed, aiming for the corners of the goal. You need to strike the ball with the top of your foot, keeping your ankle locked and your body over the ball. You also need to follow through with your kicking leg, generating more power and accuracy. This type of free kick is best for long distances and when there is a gap in the wall or the goalkeeper's position.



  • The curler: This is when you kick the ball with a spin, making it curve in the air and deceive the goalkeeper. You need to strike the ball with the inside of your foot, hitting it slightly off-center and brushing it with your instep. You also need to angle your body and your kicking leg, creating a curve effect. This type of free kick is best for medium distances and when there is a tight angle to the goal.



  • The knuckleball: This is when you kick the ball with little or no spin, making it move unpredictably in the air and confuse the goalkeeper. You need to strike the ball with the laces of your foot, hitting it right in the center and keeping your foot flat. You also need to keep your body straight and your kicking leg relaxed, minimizing any rotation. This type of free kick is best for short distances and when there is a clear sight to the goal.



  • The chip: This is when you kick the ball with a loft, making it go over the wall and dip under the crossbar. You need to strike the ball with the side of your foot, hitting it underneath and lifting it up. You also need to lean back slightly and swing your kicking leg upwards, creating a high arc. This type of free kick is best for close distances and when there is a tall wall or a short goalkeeper.



The examples and statistics of the best free kick takers in history




Some players have mastered the art of taking free kicks and have scored many memorable goals from them. Here are some of the best free kick takers in history and their impressive statistics:


Name


Nationality


Club(s)


Free Kick Goals


Free Kick Accuracy


Juninho Pernambucano


Brazil


Vasco da Gama, Lyon, etc.


77


8.3%


Lionel Messi


Argentina


Barcelona


57


9.1%


Cristiano Ronaldo


Portugal


Manchester United, Real Madrid, etc.


56


6.5%


David Beckham


England


Manchester United, Real Madrid, etc.


65


7.2%


Zico


Brazil


Flamengo, Udinese, etc.


62N/A


How to defend a free kick and prevent a goal




The strategies and skills for forming a wall and positioning the goalkeeper




Defending a free kick is not easy, but it is not impossible either. It requires strategy, skill, communication, and coordination between the goalkeeper and the defenders. One of the most common and effective ways to defend a free kick is to form a wall of players in front of the goal, blocking the direct shot and reducing the angle for the kicker. The goalkeeper is responsible for organizing and positioning the wall, as well as covering the other side of the goal. Here are some tips for forming a wall and positioning the goalkeeper:


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  • The number of players in the wall depends on the distance and angle of the free kick, as well as the preference of the goalkeeper. Usually, there are three to six players in the wall.



  • The wall should be aligned with one post of the goal, leaving enough space for the goalkeeper to see and react to the shot.



  • The wall should be at least 10 yards away from the ball, as required by the rules. The goalkeeper can use his hands or feet to mark this distance on the ground.

  • The wall should be composed of the tallest and bravest players, who can jump, block, and deflect the shot with their heads or bodies.



  • The wall should be compact and unified, leaving no gaps or spaces for the ball to pass through.



The wall should not move or break until the ball is kicked, otherwise they risk being penalized by the referee or being caught off guard by


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