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Defensive Tips

1. Stand up the player.

2. See the player & the ball at all times. Focus on the ball when defending one v. one.

3. Keep the player in front of you.

4. Bend your knees and be on your toes.

5. Be prepared to move quickly backwards and or to the side.

6. Listen to your teammates behind you. They can give you directions, such as steering the player to the touchline or inside or to make a tackle when there’s an opportunity.

7. Work to make attackers make mistake – have patience.

8. Force the attacker into pressure.

9. Defenders work to keep the ball in front of them.

10. If support is behind you the defender must increase pressure and look to win the ball.

11. Defender must close distance while ball is traveling.

12. Defender must stay on your toes and avoid standing flat footed.

13. Defenders must tighten up when getting close to goal so defenders can win balls when attackers makes mistakes.

14. Play hard with intensity – don’t give up even if you get beat, track back towards the goal.

Learn more – Great Defenders Deserve More Praise


The first objective should be to keep the offensive player in front of you. Slow him or her down until you have more cover. Push the offensive player towards one side and shuffle backwards while slowly steering the offensive player to the sideline or into another teammates path.

When you have cover, or are confident, you can win the ball and look to make a tackle! Either going in with the inside of the foot to knock the ball away and try to win possession at the same time or poke the ball away. When making a tackle make sure you have a strong presence and are in a well balanced position.

Just as an offensive player makes feints, you as the defender can also act like you are going to go for the ball to put the offensive player off balance and then win the ball when they least expect it.

Watch great tackles from the pros and goals from defenders:

Defensive Heading

Just when the ball is kicked drop off the player so you can get a running start and clear the ball, don’t be on your heels but jockey for position in a way, and read the game. If you’re too tight than you can’t jump up and clear the ball away. So keep this in mind on goal kicks, when the ball is in the keeper’s hands and he’s going to punt the ball, or when a defender is serving a long ball into a forward.

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