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Defensive Play By Coach Perry

Defensive Play by Coach Linn Perry

Every player on the team has a defensive role. Defense is not limited to the goalkeeper, sweeper, and backs. As soon as your team loses possession of the ball you immediately switch to defense. It is very important that you do this as quickly as possible, therefore you need to know what your defensive role is on the team. When defending you need to mark players from the other team. There are 2 ways you can do this:
1. Goalside and inside

2. Goalside and ballside

There are advantages to each method. When marking goalside and inside if a good pass is made you are in position to cut off the passing lane to the middle of the field so you are forcing the ball toward the sideline. When marking goalside and ballside you are closer to the ball so you can intercept a bad pass easier. When marking a player you don’t want to get too close.
1. Goalside: Position between opponent you are marking and the goal you are defending.

2. Inside: On the side of opponent closest to the goal.
3. Ballside: On the side of the opponent which the ball is on.

Questions to ask yourself when on Defense

1. How far away is the ball? In general the farther away the ball is the greater the distance you want to leave between you and the person you are marking.
2. Who has the ball? Is it someone who has good skills or someone you can take the ball from easily? From that you can decide if you want to challenge for the ball or try to delay the play.
3. Which way is she facing?

If the person you are marking receives the ball then you should immediately challenge. If you don’t succeed then at least you have delayed play of the ball. You quickly want to move into the space between the opponent and the goal you are defending. This is particularly important on the defending 3rd of the field.
5 Key Defensive Principles

1. Compactness: Players will pull together or shorten the distance between them.
2. Depth: When one person is attacking for the ball another needs to cover the opponent with the ball in the case that the first is beaten.
3. Delay: Slow down the opponent by getting yourself in a position to prevent her from any quick moves like running into space, a quick pass or shot on goal.
4. Balance: Defensive players must position themselves so they can see as many of their opponents as possible. Players MUST talk to each other. This is very important since you may see something that your teammate doesn’t and you can make her aware of possible danger. You are a balanced defense that way.
5. Patience: You must be patient. Challenges from a poor angle or committing to the ball at the wrong time can give your opponent an advantage.

First, Second, Third Defender

This is where one girl challenges for the ball, a second backs her up, and the third is positioned farther away to be able to be able to receive the ball if we gain possession or to challenge the opponent with the ball should she beat the first 2 defenders. This type of defense can happen anywhere on the field, whether it is the center forward and 2 wings, center mid and left and right outside midfielders or the stopper and marking backs forming the play.

Defensive Roles

The most important thing to being a great defense is knowing your roles and organizing quickly. So knowing where you should be is VERY IMPORTANT.

Forwards: First line of defense. When they lose the ball they immediately attack to get the ball back. Their job is to DELAY the ball so that the rest of the team has time to reset into their defensive positions.
Right and Left Outside Midfielders: You defend the long narrow stretch on your appropriate side of the field. You need to mark your opponent immediately BEFORE the ball is lost. So you need to be watching and anticipating every move of the offense, and need to be alert to any possibilities of your team losing possession of the ball.
Center Midfield: An alert center mid will be able to predict what will happen to the ball before it happens. She should watch and be able to read body movements of the opponent with the ball.
Stopper: Fills in the space in front of the Marking Backs to keep the ball from being passed to the opposing forwards. The stopper acts like the sweeper of the midfield players.
Right and Left Outside Backs: They have the job of marking players. A back must be able to decide when and where to mark. She must try to read a play before it happens. Must be aggressive and know how to tackle the ball away. She wants to try to prevent her opponent from receiving the ball.
Sweeper: She is an uncommitted defensive player (she doesn’t have a person to mark). Her job is to help out the backs by providing cover to the player challenging for the ball. She also guards against unmarked players coming in for through passes. If she gains possession of the ball she wants to get the ball out from in front of the goal and to the side of the field either by running with or passing the ball.
Goalkeeper: She is the last line of defense and may use her hands. She is a very important part of the defense especially when the ball has been moved past the backs.
Once our defense gains possession as the ball is moved up field toward our attacking 3rd the defensive players need to move up as well, they don’t sit back and wait, they need to try and keep the ball up field. They are now part of the offense. The sweeper wants to move up as well, but needs to be aware of opposing forwards who may receive a through pass behind the backs. At all times every player should be aware of all the players around them, both teammates and opposing players.
Defensive Summary

1. ALL players have defensive duties and responsibilities. No one sits back and watches the game happen.
2. Players must understand their defensive role on the team
3. Positioning is VERY important.
4. Stopper’s main job is cutting off through passes to the opposing forwards.
5. Right and Left Outside Midfield need to get into good defensive position before the ball is lost.
6. Center midfielder should be able to judge when to move up to help the forwards and when to move back to help the defense.
7. You must organize QUICKLY so knowing where you need to be BEFORE the ball is lost is VERY IMPORTANT. You do this by watching and knowing what is going on ALL the time. You must constantly be thinking where do I need to be if we should lose the ball and if the ball is lost get to that position QUICKLY.