So you want to hone your defense abilities? Practice, as with most things in life, makes perfect, and by following the instructions below, you, too, may become a world-class defender.
Being a defender may be a poisoned chalice at times, with the simplest mistakes punishable ruthlessly. And, because defenders normally work as a team, you could be having a great game, but if your teammates are having a nightmare, you look horrible as well.
Here are the top tips for becoming a better soccer defender.
While the days of a center defense being a gigantic giant only fit to kick lumps out of opponents are fortunately over, being strong on the ball is still important.
Weightlifting, toning, and bulking up with the appropriate meals can significantly improve your game. Build those muscles for anything from getting the ball back with a solid shoulder charge to becoming an immovable force in defense. Defenders absorb a lot of hits, so getting your body ready is a significant benefit.
Soccer is a team sport, and as such, each player's success is dependent on the success of the others. Being a leader on the field and managing your colleagues may elevate a good defense to a great one.
It's no secret that many successful club leaders are defenders, which allows them to marshal their defense and view the entire pitch, giving them a sense of the ebb and flow of a game. Manage your team, and the opposition will come after you.
This should go without saying, but you'd be surprised how many players don't watch their diet. A healthy body encourages a healthy mind, so eat fresh food, pasta, chicken, and drink enough of water.
Maintaining a healthy diet helps you stay focused, minimizes your chance of injury, and can help your team's engine function for the full 90 minutes. At your own risk, disregard what you put into your body.
The modern defender is a fast and agile athlete. Your function necessitates quickness and agility. With fewer target men on the field as a center forward, speed reigns supreme.
And if you don't keep up, you'll fall behind, so increase your speed and acceleration. Sprint training increases your movement speed, allowing you to get to the ball ahead of everyone else. Consider Rio Ferdinand in his prime; he seldom made a tackle because he was always quickest to the ball.
Shielding a player away from the goal decreases risk by narrowing the angles from which they can shoot. And risk aversion is the main goal of defenses.
Positioning, awareness, speed, and strength are critical for success, as are placing yourself between the striker and your own goal, moving them out wide to minimize their target, and making it as difficult as possible for a goal to go in.
Your main responsibility as a defender is to keep your goal secure. Fancy passing is fantastic, as is the occasional goal. But, ultimately, you only have one job: keep a clean sheet.
If you find yourself under pressure with the ball, get it out of play and into the stands to give yourself and your team time to regain position and concentrate.
There is a moment for heroics and a time for practicality on the soccer field. And the most pragmatic defender is one who knows when to let go of the ball. You're not there to run 60 yards, throw 50 yards, or clear the ball to safety.
Drawing a foul, similar to getting the ball into the stands, is another good means of recovering the ball or getting everyone back into position. Put yourself between your opponent and the ball, and encourage them to foul you.
Back into your opponent if you're jumping for the ball to entice them to get onto your back. A tactical foul is an important ability to learn; getting a foul or putting a player out when things appear hazardous can be the best method to halt play.