Learning how to play soccer defense is an important part of the game. Even offensive players need to know how to play defense, since they often have to try and steal the ball from the opposing team. To play soccer defense for an entire game is not easy, so you must spend a lot of time working on your fitness level and also learning how to properly position your feet. Work with your coach and your defensive teammates on your skills, so you can be a bigger asset to the team.
To play soccer defense you will need:
- Fitness program
- Drills for footwork and positioning
- Get in good shape if you want to play soccer defense. Defenders chase their opponents all over the soccer field, so you have to be in shape if you want to see a lot of playing time. Work on your cardio and your speed, to help you be a better defender.
- Do some footwork drills. Having fast feet is one of the keys to playing soccer defense. Work on your footwork by running through a series of cones set up on the soccer field. Cut hard when you run by a cone, to help build up your ankle and lower leg strength. Workout as much as you need, so you can play soccer defense at a higher level.
- Learn the proper way to cover an opponent if you want to play soccer defense. Many new players watch the man in front of them, instead of the ball. This is one of the common mistakes new players make. You have to stay in front of your man and watch the ball and not their body, or they can easily fake you out and get by you. Practice staying in front of the man you are covering. Being in great shape will make it much easier to play good man-on defense.
- Learn how to anticipate your opponent’s moves to play soccer defense. Once you have covered a man for a few trips down the field, you should be able to pick up on their tendencies. If possible, overplay to their strong side so you force them to use their weaker foot.
- Practice clearing the ball when you are a defensive player. You need to know when to possess the ball or when to clear it out of your end of the field. Only experience will help you learn what to do with the ball, so try to play and practice defense as often as possible.
- Learning how to properly head the soccer ball is another important part of playing defense. Heading the ball out of the box can save a goal, so learn how to direct the ball when you head it. Work on your single-leg jumping technique, so you can out leap the offensive players who are going up to contest the ball.