It is not easy to succeed as a team, and if you want to excel as a team, you will need support from all your players. In a simple terms, winning is scoring more goals. However, apart from scoring goals, your team will also have to ensure that they defend and do not concede any goals whenever they are under attack. For this to happen, you will have to play as a team and ensure that you consistently have each other’s back.

Defense in soccer comprises of different types of strategies. However, the underlying principles for all of types of defense include cover, pressure and balance. All of this is related to soccer defenders and it becomes a task for them to attack whenever their opponent in in possession of the ball. For better defense line in your team, consider these tips and suggestions that are brought to you by Coachable:


Basic Strategies

  • Pressure is provided by the defender closest to the ball.
  • If the first defender is beaten on a one-one manner, the second defender will have to provide cover.
  • The defensive back line is supported by the third defender.
  • If both the first and second defender are beaten, the third defender will have to step in and provide backup.


One-On-One Defending

One on one defense is essential for every player and in order to play good defense, the defenders will have to be patient enough. The attacking teams in soccer try to tackle the inexperienced defender as they lose their cool quickly and give in. For a player to be a good defender, they will have to wait until the attacker makes a move and should tackle only when the ball presents itself. A distance of three steps is recommended for defenders from the attackers, as the attacker will only be left with three options: to pass, shoot or to dribble it past the defender.

When the defender allows enough space, he will be left with ample time to block the attacker or stay in close range if the attacker tries to dribble.

During the first two-thirds of the match, the attacker should be pushed towards the middle of the field. Whenever the attackers are in the middle, they will have more players in the middle than in the sidelines. In the last third, the attackers will try to touch the goal and when they are pushed towards the corner goals, the chances of the attackers scoring a goal stand reduced.



Tracking proves to be highly difficult in soccer as the game keeps changing constantly. There will be multiple things happening together and you will have to consistently analyze how the attackers are advancing. Ideally, the defenders should keep tracking the ball and they are always aware about the movement of the ball and the players.

More than tracking where the ball is heading to, you should be in a position to predict what happens next to the ball. In situations where there is an opposing attacker moving into a passing lane, the second or third defender should be a in a position to mark and follow the player. Defenders are always on the lookout and have to assess the risks posed by each attacker. There is a formation and strategy for every team and they will have to decide on a formation that best suits their team skills. There needs to be a game plan. Although it is a new idea, listed below is how the defense comes into picture:


Zonal Defense

There are multiple occasions when teams stick to zonal defense. In this type of defense, the defenders will not mark any individual opponents over and over again. The teams only pick offensive players that are attacking and based on cover, pressure and balance method. If the players are not impacted by who is carrying the ball, they will stay in open space and will then decide on when the attacking player’s run will be picked. The defenders will have to clog lanes and will take space until there is an action forced on them by another player and under such circumstances, another player will side into that position.

If the side is of good defense, they will not chase the game and will not feel threatened by the runs. Instead, they will patiently wait for the right time to attack. The offense and defense both have a strategy. Generally, if the defender focuses on everything at once, they will not be able to act and might end up conceding a goal.

Attackers will generally have an advantage as they can anticipate and will not have any idea until they respond properly. In case of bad defense, teams will forgo their formation and shape the second there is initial distress. Due to this scenario, the offensive will have an upper hand in the game and get a chance to dictate the game. If the defending team is good enough, they will abstain from reacting and will patiently wait for the next move of the team. For defending teams that are in focus, they can read a run even before it happens. Thusly, don’t chase the ball just because it’s the easy solution — that’s playing checkers.

In the case of best teams, they will read the offensive movements and attack, preemptively striking within their own strategies before it’s too late. Communication within the team is highly essential to play great defense and it cannot be achieved until the team communicates resiliently.


Communication plays a major role

The defense of a team goes for a toss if they are not able to communicate well. Only when the defenders are in sync, will be able to defend better. When the first defender comes in contact with the attacker, he should be able to communicate with the second defender so that he moves to a favorable position and both of them will have the attacker covered. In such cases, even if the attacker attacks one defender, he will not be able to get past the second defender.


Huddle Up

In the best soccer teams from all over the world, you will notice that the defenders are communicating constantly and will be working in sync as a team. Youth players are trained in a way to attack the ball whenever possible as it serves to be the best defense. Eventually, they learn different strategies and skills of the game and their ideals keep changing. Rather than acting based on the actions of their opponents, teams will have to read their opponents better and know how to take the next step.

Leveraging on the expert private coaches available on Coachable, you can become a better one-on-one defender in turn becoming a better team defender. When you defend together as a team, you will concede less goals and this will result in you winning more games than you would have imagined. This way, your strategy will prove to highly effective and your team will have better coordination and win more matches with a strategy.


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