Calcio Coaching: Walter Mazzarri’s free kicks
Forza Italian Football is pleased to bring its readers a regular new feature – Il Mister. Our experts will endeavour to show you all the methods and tactical secrets employed by Serie A’s best football coaches.
As discussed in previous ‘Il Mister’ articles, the set piece is an incredibly crucial element of any coach’s training program.
Many goals can be scored by these dead ball situations and top tacticians have preset routines that they will rehearse with their players in the hope of giving them the edge during a match.
In this edition of our Calcio Coaching, we will bring you a flavour of Serie A coach Walter Mazzarri’s free kick schemes, as used by his current Napoli team.
Free kick 1
Eleven will aim an in-swinging cross to the centre edge of the six yard box.
The ball is intended for 5 who will make a run from outside the penalty box.
As 11 crosses the ball, 4 and 9 will make runs towards the front post whilst 7 moves towards the far post.
Eight will be expected to cause confusion by blocking any man markers following his team mates.
Free kick 2
From a slightly less deep position to the previous routine, 10 will aim to hit the ball just beyond the penalty spot.
Runs from 7 and 4 will be the main focus.
However, if the ball is over hit, 3 will have made a run to the far post, having arced his movement around his team mates.
Five is expected to block any man marker that follows 3.
Free kick 3
Ten will cross the ball to the far post just as 9 makes his run around 7 who will attempt to block the man marker.
Players 4 and 8 will attempt to meet the ball whilst 5 runs from deep to the far post in case the ball is over hit.
Free kick 4
This is a direct free kick on goal by 11 with a shot over the wall.
Ten will start to the side of the defensive wall and then make a run to the edge of the six yard box.
Players 8, 7 and 9 will also attack the box.
The important thing in this scheme is that left footed player 3 will feign taking the free kick, to confuse the defence.
Free kick 5
Ten and 4 stand over the ball. 10 will simulate a powerful shot on goal but will instead send over a chip for 7 to attack.
Two is expected to block the man marker as 7 makes his run.
Free kick 6
Ten passes to 4 who stops the ball.
Ten then hits a long ball towards the far post in the hope of reaching 3 who has made an arced run to the back of the six yard area from the space created by the run of 5.
Players 7, 9 and 11 all attack the goal.