Keeping – Defending Free Kicks When a team is defending against a free kick in the attacking half of the field it’s important for the defending team to establish a line defensively so the opposing team can’t go as far forward as they want. If the defending team doesn’t establish a line defensively both the defenders and attackers will get in the way of the keeper on shots or crosses. Instead of allowing all of these players to drop in (offensively and defensively) the keeper should have the defending team step up which prohibits the attacking team from going further forward without going into an offside position It is the keeper’s responsibility to determine that they want to their team to establish a line and where it should be. Keeping – Defending Free Kicks Once the keeper has decided to establish a line (which is different from a wall as a wall is usually 10 yards from the and is designed to block part of the goal from a direct shot while establishing a line is done to prevent the attackers from going any further toward goal before the ball is struck) the next thing the keeper has to do is be prepared for the penetrating pass. This penetrating pass can be played on the ground or, frequently, with a chip. The way the keeper deals with the penetrating pass is by coming off their line and be preparing to sprint forward to win the ball played behind the defense. The keepers dilemma is they want to play far enough off their line to cover as many penetrating passes as they can yet at the same time being back far enough to protect their goal from the direct shot. There is no set answer for how far out a keeper should establish their line nor how far out they should be to protect from penetrating passes because there are too many variables involved including the tendencies of the opposing team, the keepers size and speed and most importantly, the keepers comfort level. Establishing a line makes it easier for a team to defend free kicks but it requires communication between the field players and the keeper as well as an understanding of positioning by the keeper to determine where the line should be established and where they should position themselves. The best way to get a better understanding of where to establish a line and where to position yourself as a keeper can be attained by watching other keepers and teams, seeing what they do and trying things on your own.