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Set-Piece Coach Andy Parslow: Every opponent is its own puzzle, and requires unique approach!

The morning session of the opening day of the AIFF International Virtual Coaching Conference on Friday, December 3, 2021 featured Tanzania Head Coach and FIFA Coach Educator Kim Poulsen followed by AFC Wimbledon set-piece coach Andy Parslow.

Poulsen’s session focused on leadership in football and the various aspects that come into play while managing and motivating a squad in different scenarios. The Dane had previously conducted a FIFA Elite Senior Coaching course in Goa in 2018.

Parslow gave interesting insights into the world of set-pieces, which have become an important source of goals in the modern game. By focusing primarily on attacking and defending corners and free-kicks, he emphasized on creativity and innovation while analysing such routines.

“Every opponent is its own puzzle which has its own solution and it cannot have a one-size-fits-all approach,” he said. “Having solutions to each and every opponent is key.”

The Englishman presented the coaches in attendance with video analysis of AFC Wimbledon’s set-piece routines against their last few opponents, dissecting the action play-by-play.

“It’s all about delivery, strategy, timing and contingency planning,” explained Parslow. “If the ball delivery is not good, then your strategy goes out of the window and it is the same with timing.”

While offering situation-specific solutions to man-marking, zonal marking and mixed marking, the former Brentford and Watford youth coach pointed out that burdening your players with too much information will affect their ability to carry out given instructions.

“Players have a limited attention span. We must not give them too many details every few days,” he inferred. “Once they get a general idea of what their role is, and then tweak the specifics.”

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