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Attacking Free Hits
What is the aim of the attacking team when given a free hit outside the circle?
TO KEEP THE BALL, TO WIN A SHORT CORNER AND TO GET A SHOT ON TARGET.
This is difficult because this is a zone in the field that is very highly congested with players and most opposition will try crowding the area with defenders. There are certain RULES that can be used and implemented in this area to help focus the attackers on what their objectives are.
- If there is a short obvious pass available early then give it! Once the ball is inside the circle aim to win a penalty corner or get a shot on goal.
- From a static situation you need to make sure that the player on the dead ball has an accurate, reliable hitting and/or slapping technique. If this player can develop disguise then even better. It is important that all players understand there is an individual/s who have been given this role so other players must move off the ball and set up the play rather than rush the free hit.
- There should always be a player that is just within the 6 yards of the free hit that is moving in front of the ball and acts as a “screen” or a “block”. They can also be used for the short ball.
- There must always be two players covering the far post options on both sides of the goal, and another player breaking into the 9-yard area. Deflections in these areas need to be practiced.
- When there is a free hit in a wide area of the circle i.e. close to the baseline, then you must get players leading into the deep corners of the circle. These need to be players with quick hands that can win a free hit.
FREE HIT OPTIONS:
Ball on the right of the circle (same options can be used on the left)
- Blocker in direct line. Ball is targeted deep into the circle. CF rolls off the defender and reverse tip in.
- Blocker (RM) leads off to the right and receives the ball. RS breaks inside on the 45-degree line to receive the ball from the blocker. RS slaps it to the far post for tip in from LS.
- Blocker holds their position (RL) RS moves onto the baseline. Ball is played to the RS who deflects it first time across the goal for a tip in by LS.
- 2 players (LS AND RS) start next to each other on the left post. LS leads out and away from the goal and if not marked should be available for a pass. RS Leads to just outside the rights post for a long deflection ball. CF leads onto the penalty spot for an option of the deflection ball from the free hit.
Ball in the middle of circle
- Player on the ball gives the call for this play. Blocker breaks to the right of the ball acting as the dummy. The RS starts in the middle of the D and moves onto the right post. The LS starts ahead of the CS in the middle of the circle. The CS initiates the movement by leading towards the top of the circle. On seeing this movement the player on the ball rolls the ball into the circle and the CS hits it first time. It may mean having to hit it off the wrong foot but both the other strikers are on the posts now in case it goes wide.
- RB leads wide, RM holds inside, as RS breaks wide. The CS makes a baseline lead and the RS rolls the ball to the CS in the circle. CS works a shortie or sets up the RM on the 90-degree ball.