Make sure your defense strikes fear into your opponent with this guide to defensive drills and tips. The defender's primary job is to deny penetration by applying pressure and maintaining a good position. Find out the best way to do the job effectively.
More injuries occur during tackling than during any other activity. Find out the best way to stay safe when going for possession. Need a great soccer drill to make your practice more productive? This exercises emphasis offensive ball-handling, defensive recovery and conditioning. Athleticism and skill can only help a soccer team's defense so much. Here is the main reason defenses succeed--and it's something everyone can do. Defenders often have little time to clear the ball away from danger.
Here's a simple drill to make your sweepers comfortable under pressure. Quick refers to the defender speed while closing down the attacker with the ball. Closing down the attacker should be done at full speed sprint and note that it is often best to close down the ball when the ball is in flight. Slow refers to the defender's ability to change speed and direction required to start moving in the same path of the attacker.
Sideways relates to the body positioning often used when defending. The defender should turn their body at a degree angle to create the largest amount of defensive area.
If the defender turns perpendicular to the attacker, the attacker could easily attack the backside of the defender and have the advantage. However, if the defender positions their body at a degree angle, they will have covered the largest area of space while giving the defender an advantage to channel the attacker.
So this means defenders should close down the player as the ball is in flight. Tight pressure causes the attacker to look down, where lose pressure allows the attacker to lift their head and have a better vision of defenders, space, and possibilities. Another important aspect of defending is knowing when to tackle.
The defender should be patient and look for queues to predict the right time to tackle. Also, defenders should learn how to channel an attacker. This simply means to encourage the attacker to go a particular direction dictated by the defender.
Typically channeling is done by bending the run on approaching the attacker to encourage the attacker to move the ball away from the defender. The position of your defensive line. Polish your basic skills. As a defensive player, you'll be expected to have excellent ball handling skills. A sloppy pass or poor control can lead to repossession of the ball by the other team, which could end disastrously for yours.
You should drill regularly with other defenders to maintain your ball handling skills and develop your adaptability to the defensive styles of different players. Know where to look. Experts consistently recommend that you watch the hips and the ball when on the defense. This will often clue you in as to where he is headed. It's important to keep a close eye on the ball and not be fooled by fancy footwork; strikers that rely on tricky feet will be undone if you refuse to be distracted.
Cover opponents and their angles of approach. The dimensions of the soccer field are unchanging, and the directions from which an opponent can approach your net limited. You should train your mind to instantly analyze the approach of any player on the opposing team. How will he shoot on net?
Does he have any support he might pass to? How might his fellow strikers support him? How will his fellow strikers shoot on net? Be determined in your mindset. Defenders should never give up, even in the worst situations.
As a defender, you will need to be willing to sacrifice whatever necessary to stop goals, including your body. For example, if a player is about to shoot, you have to be willing to throw your body, legs or even your face in the way to block it. Defenders need to be highly competitive with a will to succeed, and never give in no matter how bad the situation looks. Evaluate the opposing players style. If the striker you are covering prefers quick, agile plays, you'll want to play very aggressive defense and stick with him closely to prevent him from taking advantage of any gaps.
Players that rely on tricks of footwork to confound defense can be undone by careful attention, on your part, to his hips and the ball. You might also consider setting a trap for offensive players by allowing a gap to form in the defense.
If he surprises you with a sprint that is faster than you expected, you may be left in the dust and him with a shot on net. Cut off attacks on net and passes between players. First and foremost, your responsibility as a defender is to protect the net. You should keep yourself between the strikers of the other team and the net at all times, but there may be occasions where you need to cut off a dangerous pass to an open player.
If you react slowly to changes on-field, your defense will suffer. Limit your stabs at the ball. You should leave roughly an arms length of space between you and your opponent. Wait until the right moment to steal the ball away by back stepping until your opponent makes a mistake. Angle your hips and your approach. It's easy for the opposition to evade a defender that approaches head on, so you should avoid running straight at opposition strikers.
When confronting an offensive player, try to approach at an angle that forces the opposition to use his non-dominant foot. This way you can turn easily in response to developments on the field. Herd attackers into positions of pressure. If you see teammate midfielders on the approach, adjust your cut off angle to bring the pressure of another defender down on the attacking player you're covering.