All defenders should consider their roles with the following in order of priorities:


Read the game in order to anticipate the intended pass.

Position yourself in order to win the ball. Be well  balanced  to  move  quickly, keep  low  and  disguise  your intentions and deceive the man with the ball?  Judge the speed of the pass.

Decision  as to what to do having  made  the  interception,  first time clearance ? Hold the ball ?What kind of pass ? Where to release the ball ? How to deliver it ?  When to deliver it ?


Stop him turning.


Get his head down.
Position yourself between the ball and the goal - 2 yards away.
Stop the ball being played past you.
Be close enough to stop any shot.
Tackle if you are able to win the ball.

Keep  on  your toes, sideways  movements  when close to the ball. If  you must  give  space, where  will  you  force  the player ? - Away from goal if possible - can you direct him to where your teammates are ?


Position to cover any colleague.
Assess the direction of the next pass.
Move in to pressure if teammate beaten.
When to mark men, when to cover space?
Communicate instructions to man in front. Tell him inside or outside.

Marking especially from crosses

Be aware of man and ball;  get your shoulder in front. Make sure you are marking in normal play on the  ball side, keep your feet moving.  When moving and adjusting your position move your head first as it is the heaviest part of your  body. The first yard is vital. Be aware of all movements to the side and behind and in front.
Communicate - Know your role when the opposition has the ball.

Recovery Runs

Know  how  to  recover  when  the  ball is played past you  e.g. lines of  recovery  flanks  and middle of the field. Do not recover too far. Recover to where you can put pressure on the ball, cover teammates or cover space.

Defending in and around the Penalty Area

Be first to the ball, clear high, wide and long if possible. This gives us time
to adjust our position. Communicate; Be mentally strong.

It is the psychologically  tougher team in tight matches, which gets the result.
© 2005-2008. Barrie Spirit Soccer
Defensive  Team  Tactics
  Defenders can get away with a lot of things but fundamental skills are required. Heading, passing and ball control are most important. You need to be confident in your ball skills because technical mistakes are very costly for defenders