Soccer defensive tactics and strategies are essential to a team’s success. A strong defence prevents the opposition from scoring and is start of a counterattack that gives you team a chance to score and win the game.
Defensive strategies come in several shapes and forms; and we can tailor them to a team’s strength, weaknesses and style. Three defensive strategies that we will discuss are man-marking, zonal defence and pressing.
Man-marking is a defensive strategy in which every attacking player is assigned a defender. The defender follows the player and is responsible for preventing them from possessing the ball. This strategy is great against a team with a lot of skilled individual players. The downside is that it requires a lot of energy from defenders and can be broken down by quick passing moves.
Zonal marking is a defensive strategy in which every area of the field is assigned a defender. This is a great strategy for defending set pieces and also helps against quick, attacking passes and counterattacks. It can, however, be broken down by individual brilliance who are able to create open spaces and break free.
Pressing is a defensive strategy in which the defence pushes up aggressively and tries the win the ball high up the field. This is a great way to spark counterattacks and stopping an opposition’s attacking play. It is however, vulnerable to counterattacks as the defenders are high up the field. This is a great strategy if your team is down a goal, or if you’re playing a team that doesn’t have much speed in attack.
There are additional strategies, such as offside traps, double-teaming and shifting the defence to certain areas of the field that the opposition is stronger in. The strength of a coach or player is being able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each strategy, and when to apply each of them. This requires a combination of knowledge, skill, and teamwork; with the ability to adapt these strategies during the game while the pressure is on.
In the rest of this blog, we’ll have a look at a bunch of different strategies; with drills to practice them so that your team can understand how to apply them effectively. Whether you are looking to develop a solid defence or simply want to understand your role within a team, this blog post is for everyone.
You can also check out our soccer defensive drills book below: