defensive principles are for soccer coaches at any level.
The most important concept of team defense is to get behind the ball
quickly, the moment it is lost to the other team. Teach your players
that they should all attack when they have the ball, and all defend
it when the opponent has the ball. The quickest way to recover behind
the ball is to simply run straight back toward your own goal. The forwards
will not need to recover all the way behind the ball because they will
be marking opposing defenders.
major principle in team defense is to protect the defensive danger zone.
The defensive danger zone is the area in front of the goal. If this
zone is defended correctly, the goal will be under far less pressure.
To do this teach your players to keep the ball out of in front of the
goal, don't cross the ball in front of the goal, teach your defenders
to clear the ball to the outside. One the ball enters the danger zone
clear it quickly. This is not the place to dribble, teach your defenders
to kick it hard and far. Don't allow yourselves to be out numbered in
the goal area, get behind the ball.
also involves pressuring attackers in possession of the ball and covering
for defenders if they get beaten with a dribble. Opponents must never
be allowed a clear run on goal. The player with the ball is the most
important and should always be marked tightly. If there is one defender
and two or more attackers, the defender should always take the player
with the ball.
foot positioning are important in sound defense. The weight is on the
balls of the feet, the center of gravity is low, and the eyes are firmly
on the ball. Feet should be positioned inside the attacker, blocking the
path to the defensive danger zone. This forces the attacker to dribble
out and to the sidelines
After recovering behind the ball, the defenders should immediately
mark-up or track all unguarded attacking players. This is acheived by
getting goal side of the player they are marking, whether or not that
player has the ball. If the player does not have the ball, the defender
should stay goal side and follow the rule: "The closer the ball,
the tighter the marking". If the ball is close the defender should
stay an arm's length from the attacker. Any closer and the defender
can be turned easily. When the ball is on the other side of the field
the defender can drop 10-15 feet off of the attacker.
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