How Goalkeepers Should Set Up A Wall

Many young goalkeepers struggle in dealing with free kicks and set pieces, especially when dealing with setting a wall. The following diagrams will provide a step-by-step on the basics of setting a wall from various angles. Before diving deep into this topic, though, remember: The goalkeeper’s no. 1 job is to keep the ball out of the net. Do not begin setting you wall until you have confirmation from the referee that play will not be restarted until he or she blows the whistle.


The above picture demonstrates the number of players you should have in the wall depending on the zone of the field from which the free kick is being taken. Remember, the closer to the center of the field, the more players you should have in the wall. Any free kick from 35+ yards out should require only 1 player at most fronting the ball no matter what zone the ball is in, and you may decide that you want that player back in the box marking up.

The above picture demonstrates how to set your wall. ALWAYS set the wall on the near post, with the outside shoulder of the second man in the wall on a straight line between the post and the ball (see the black line). You should also set the wall with the tallest player on the outside, working your way to the shortest player on the inside of the wall. Both of these steps prevent a shot from being curled around the outside of the wall and into the near post. ALSO, notice the goalkeeper’s positioning. It is the wall’s job to cover the near post and goalkeeper’s responsibility to cover the back post. However, you want to position yourself slightly off-center toward the back post of the goal so that you can easily cover to that side, while still being close enough to the near post that you are able to react and make a save to that side.

Below are a couple more examples of this from different angles, including one from virtually dead center of the goal, which poses the issue of establishing which post is the “near post”.