How To Be a Soccer Defender

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

Be hard nosed. Defenders need to be confident and aggressive in every decision they make.

Step 2

Communicate with your other defenders. No matter what type of defense your team runs all defenders must be on the same page.

Step 3

Move as a unit. Every defender must move as a unit, if 3 defenders move up and 1 hangs to far back it opens up clear paths for the forwards. Moving together is the best way to keep the attack at bay.

Step 4

Stay between your man and the goal. Keeping the man in front of you allows you to dictate his play. You can make a tackle, close passing lanes, or angle your man to the sideline. The only time you want your man behind you is if your trying to run an offside trap.

Step 5

Tackle smart and tackle technical. When going in to tackle an attacker you must be smart. Know the situation, if you are the last man to beat instead of risking a tackle stay in front of the man until you have a clear path to the ball. Don't dive in at the ball, wait until the attacker shows you the ball then take it.

Step 6

Chop your feet and back pedal. Defenders are the only players on the field who spend most of the game running backwards. Have small quick chopping steps to keep a quick pace and simultaneously have the ability to tackle.

Step 7

Don't let your attacker turn. When you see your man receive the ball, get right behind him and let him know your there. Be strong and don't let him face you, make him play the ball back.

Step 8

Know when to foul and when no to. Sometimes it is better to foul rather than not. If you get beat by a man and he has a lot of options and space in front of him it might be the right time to take him down.

Step 9

Be strong and confident. Defenders need to have a combination of speed, positioning, and strength. Being physical with your man is a good thing, let him know that your there. It gets his mind off what he's going to do with the ball and he begins to focus on you.

Step 10

Support your mid's. Soccer is not always a game of going forward, to open up different lanes and looks the whole team needs to be involved and the ball needs to go all over the pitch. If the ball ends up on the wing and the winger has no where to go forward or square you must show to him so that your team can keep the ball. The best play after this is to swing the ball across your back line.

Step 11

Know when to get involved in the offense. Sometimes you can spring into forward space. (mostly as an outside back) Look to make overlapping runs off your outside mid when you have time.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

Do back pedaling drills to get your footwork on the same page as your brain. Practice one on one with a forward for a mutual benefit. Do a lot of tackling drills.

Stuff You'll Need

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Suggested Further Reading

Author Title Price
Jens Bangsbo Defensive Soccer Tactics No Price

This Student Author

This Student Author's Background

Funny or interesting story about this topic...

When I was younger I started at left back, I was particularly good at winning balls in the air. I ended up the leading scorer on the team at the end of the year. The next season I ended up as the starting striker and top scorer in the league.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

I was a defender since I started playing. It was my first position and an easy choice for my coaches considering my speed and awareness.

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