Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick secrets

Become your team’s dead-ball specialist by following these tips from Swansea’s Euros-bound Icelandic international, statistically one of the Premier League’s most potent set-piece takers

Gauge your yardage
“The distance of your free-kick to the goal is significant. Kicking from about six or seven metres outside of the penalty area is what I like best, but you have to train to cover all the options. Start 18 yards from the goal, then move further out, and to the left and right. Try to hit the goal from all angles.”
Do your homework
“Before a game, I look at videos of the keeper to see if they take a guess at where a free-kick will go or if they stay in their place. Then, when I’m standing over the ball, I try to look at the goalkeeper to see what he’s doing. If he takes a step one way, there’s sometimes a chance to score the other side.”
Work out a regime
“Many players do the exact same things before every kick – just look at Ronaldo. Get used to what you like – for example, three steps or five steps – and train at it. Then you will have a bigger chance of hitting the target. It’s good when you have somebody like David Beckham to look at and learn from.”
Stay focused on the ball
“There will be situations when opposition players try to confuse you before you take a free-kick. So, I concentrate solely on making sure the wall is at a good distance, and then getting the ball over that wall. I never think about what other players are doing. Concentrate only on what you are doing.”
Repetition, repetition…
“The most important thing if you want to be good at taking free-kicks is practice. Put a wall of mannequins on the pitch, and to try to get the ball over it and hit the corner of the goal. It is all about repetitions – keep doing it again and again. Do it for 15 minutes a day, and in time you will improve.”

More after the break

Swerve it like Sigurdsson
Ball-striking specialist coach Bartek Sylwestrzak breaks down Gylfi’s top-notch technique

“Sigurdsson has a relatively short three-step approach. This makes developing momentum slightly more difficult, but it helps produce consistent and accurate swings. It’s harder with a longer run-up to keep the rhythm of steps identical, so precision is likely to suffer.”
Body angle
“It’s a common misconception that the body, and knee in particular, should be kept over the ball. Sigurdsson correctly keeps his body away from it, allowing for a greater range and power on his swing. His relatively wide angle of approach is key in achieving this.”
“Players and coaches frequently think a shot with the inside of the foot should be soft, considering placement only and not power. But it’s possible to achieve both. Sigurdsson’s swing develops good pace and emphasises the contact phase well, making for better ball speed.”
Have Bartek analyse your swing at

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