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Coaching Youth Soccer – Who Else Wants To Defend? »

The primary objective of [tag-tec]coaching youth soccer[/tag-tec] is to win the game.  Therefore, it is very important for a team to score goals, but it is also equally important to prevent the opposing team from scoring goals.  This task of preventing the opposing team from scoring falls to the players known as the defenders, or does it?  You may have heard in some games where a striker will call out and blame the defenders for a goal being scored against them or a soccer parent on the sideline blaming the defenders for letting another goal in. However, if you are coaching youth soccer, your [tag-tec]defensive soccer tactics[/tag-tec] requires the involvement of every player as every player on the field has a role to play when it comes to defense.

Firstly, lets quickly look at the basic defensive positions. The fullbacks both left and right, the centre back and he sweeper are the players positioned closest to [tag-tec]the soccer goalkeeper[/tag-tec]. They are if you like, the last line of defense before [tag-tec]the soccer goalkeeper[/tag-tec]. The centre back position is as the name suggests, positioned between the left and right backs in the middle of the field. Some teams play a position called a sweeper which sweeps behind the backs and cleans anything up that gets past the back three players.

The outside backs or left and right back have a role to defend against attacking raids down the flanks. Their role is to stop the attacking player from getting the ball across into the middle of the field. Some soccer coaches give their outside backs an attacking role, commonly referred to as ‘wing backs’. These players’ defensive roles don’t change. They are however, required to get forward more in attack to create scoring opportunities. If you are coaching youth soccer and you implement this tactic, it is extremely important that the players understand that they have to get back and defend unless other defensive soccer tactics have been put in place to cover for them.

I mentioned earlier that all players have a role to play when it comes to defending. Strikers play an extremely important role in defense. Their primary defensive objective is to put pressure on the opposition as they bring the ball out of their defense, if you like, they are actually the first line of defense. For a youth player to progress to the next level, they need to be able to read a game defensively and know when and how to defend no matter what position they are playing. By correct positioning, marking and reading, a player can often intercept balls meant for their opponent or force an opponent to make a hurried decision resulting in a loss of possession. Timing, positioning and determination are three facets that every defender should possess. I will add another extremely important one in there and that is ‘patience’.

The following are a number of points that any player defending should think about and any coach, coaching youth soccer, should reinforce at soccer training when running through your defensive soccer tactics:

1. Avoid running into or at the attacker with the ball – Patience

2. Carefully observe the speed of the ball and the attacker

3. Always work out the best angle of approach. Ensure you are always between the attacker and your goal.

4. Reduce the speed of the attacker with the ball

5. Remain balanced with legs bent

6. Ensure there is support in defense – second player covering

7. Cut down the attacker’s options and put pressure on them to make a decision by cutting down their angles. Don’t give them time to think.

It doesn’t matter if you are [tag-tec]coaching youth soccer[/tag-tec] or any sport, you have probably heard it a thousand times that defense wins matches’. Ensure your [tag-tec]defensive soccer tactics[/tag-tec] involve familiarizing each and every player with their positioning and defensive roles and you will go a long way to reducing the number of goals scored against.

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  1. 2 Comment(s)

  2. By JC on Jan 31, 2008 | Reply

    Great site. I’ve been coaching for about 3 years and always looking for some new techniques and ideas. I’ll bookmark you and keep checking back for more great info.


  3. By Muz on Jan 31, 2008 | Reply

    Thank You Jeff for your comments.

    Your site is also a great resource for the soccer player and coach.
    Well done!
    Kind Regards,

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