In short, that secret is that he doesn’t really know what’s doing. No, you read that right, he’s admitted that he ‘doesn’t have a clue’ why his set pieces are as effective as they have been this season.
Bale has admitted that he is one of the players who always stays behind after training to practice his set pieces, having competitions against other Spurs stars who fancy themselves for that role in the current side.
The only hint he’s given away in relation to his method is that practice is the key and placing the ball down in the exact same way every single time, although sometimes he admits he doesn’t really have any idea over where the ball is going.
Hard work seems to be his main message to any youngster out there looking to mimic the way he cracks a dead ball over a wall.
Find a method that works for you, is successful, practice it routinely and it should pay off. When you think about it, there’s no much rocket science there at all.
He cites Juninho of Lyon as the perfect example of a player who had a technique for taking free kicks and believed in it, regardless of where the ball was placed around the opponent’s penalty area.
He’s either being very shrewd and doesn’t want to give rivals an edge or he really doesn’t know how the ball is going to react.
It could well be the latter because the latest football technology has shown that a ball can swerve around in the air a stupid amount. So just get the ball on target and you have a chance of making the goalkeeper look a bit foolish.
Footballs are changing all the time so he makes a good point in the respect that it can be impossible to know how a ball is going to react in certain conditions e.g. with wind and rain making a difference.
If the only method he does have is hitting the ball in the same way and placing it in the same way, then that unpredictability factor could easily be his biggest weapon. If he doesn’t know what’s going to happen then how can the goalkeeper?
It’s quite funny to think that one of the best attacking players in global football at the moment uses a method of; hit it normally and hope for the best, because some of his goals this season have been down to pinpoint accuracy and precision.
Deep down I think he does have a certain technique or a trick up his sleeve but there’s no harm in him keeping that a secret. It’s something which makes him unique and long may his superb set piece taking continue.
Do you think he’s bluffing?
image: © andybrannan