Course 1

Evidence-based coaching

Set Pieces

Having considered the attacking and defensive phases of the game, we are now going to focus on set pieces.  Please take some time to think about how you approach set pieces with your team and feel free to record this in your document for your own records if you wish to do so.

Michael Caley identifies how dangerous an individual corner kick is in an average game of soccer:

The value of a corner kick in soccer

Ted Knutson – owner of StatsBomb Services, has experience in seeking competitive advantages for football clubs across a wide range of areas, including set pieces. Here he gives insight into his experiences dealing with clubs, and below are two articles he wrote talking about how many in the football industry approach set pieces.

Changing How The World Thinks About Set Pieces

Set Pieces and Market Efficiency

Ted was a prominent member of staff on the FC Midtjylland team, which defied the odds and won the league before having success in the Champions League by leveraging set pieces. An article on the project can be found here:

21st club have also highlighted set pieces as a potential undervalued area of the game in their piece below. Their research found that team strength in open play had no relationship with set piece strength. In effect, it’s just as easy for weak teams to dominate on set pieces as it is for good teams.

How To Win On Saturday

Set pieces aren’t just limited to corners of course, at the Opta Pro Forum in 2015, Dan Barnett researched potential team strategies for whether to cross or shoot from free kicks in certain areas of the pitch. Jarred Young also investigated strategies from goal kicks for American Soccer Analysis.

Free Kicks – Cross or Shoot

Forget Everything You Know About Goal Kicks

And plenty of other teams have experienced success in the past by placing added value on set pieces. Below are two examples of teams scouting and exploiting a weakness in the opponents defensive set-up from corner kicks:

Atletico Madrid and Sheffield United have placed emphasis on set pieces in recent years, which are investigated in the articles below:

Lucy Rushton (Atlanta United) and Wilmer Cabrera (Houston Dynamo) explained their thoughts on the value of set pieces for their teams:


Lucy also discusses about some of the techniques she uses on a weekly basis to record certain aspects of set pieces such as the quality of delivery’s in attack:

We’re now going to complete a task on set pieces which is also included in our Opposition Scouting & Analysis course. If you have already taken this, you may skip the task, or re-take it in order to jog your memory on the potential power of leveraging set pieces.

Please view the .pdf file and download the excel spreadsheet below.

MLS Set Pieces 2016 – PDF

MLS 2016 Set Pieces – XLS

The final video in Module 7 shows some of the routines employed by New York Red Bulls during the 2016 season.

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For the second task in Module 7 please record your thoughts on set pieces in your course document as well as the comments section below. Do you have any interesting set piece articles or videos you want to share? Have you been punished from or scored a set piece in an important game? Once you have done this, please move on to Module 8.


  1. Joe Pelletier

    Wow, this is absolutely incredible stuff Oliver!

  2. Sam Medeiros

    I would be interested in the course Evidence-Based Coaching & Match Analysis

  3. Filozofia Blog

    Id just like to tell you how much I learnt from reading wisdom Bookmarked u.Hope to be back again for some more good articles