At football training sometime last month with RMFTA, we did a simple segment, where a single attacker goes one-on-one against a single defender and tries to beat him to score.
I was pitted against my brother, a 120kg behemoth, who is a rock as a centreback, but as an attacker, not someone that’ll make me quake in my boots. So here I am, facing up to my bro, tilting my body to show him to my left so I can move in for the steal when he goes for the shot with his masterfoot.
Instead, he did the unexpected and cut the ball to his left, ghosting past me like I wasn’t there. If he took an extra touch or two after getting past me, I might have been able to recover and put in a tackle. But he took the right option for an early shot with his first touch after getting past me, smashing an unstoppable left footer into the net that would have made any striker proud.
Damn that was a rude wake up call!
Probably overconfidence on my part. And some impressive footwork on his part. (There! I said it! You happy now?) But I also realized there’s something fundamentally wrong with my defending in one-on-ones situations.
Came across a Nike Academy training video that really shed some light. Not just on individual defensive skills, but the collective defensive covering and movement as well. Have a look at the video and you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
Permission to republish this was kindly granted by 4short1long.blogspot.sg
Do go read some of their other articles, which follows the author in his attempts at getting himself match fit for his Sunday games.
Was at training the other day and while we were doing attacker vs defender drills, the coach gave a tip. One that really struck a chord with me. He shared, after witnessing some really calamitous defending, that when defending against a 1-on-1, a defender has 3 priorities:
1. First priority: Slow the attacker down.
2. Second priority: Shepherd the attacker to the side of your choice.
3. Third priority: Dispossess him
Defender #21 is doing a good job keeping #20 at bay, allowing his team mates to track back to support
Most of us make the mistake of trying to do point 3 first. Especially for Centrebacks, slowing down the attack and allowing your defence to regroup is priority. A mistimed tackle with inadequate backup will give fleet footed attackers the opportunity to get past you and a free shot on goal.
I like point 2. It differentiates an elite amateur footballer from the rest. Identify the attacker’s master foot, as well as your own. Then decide if you want to show him the outside channel, or the inside channel. Conventional teaching tells us to always show the attacker the outside. But experience tells me forcing the attacker to utilise his non master side can be just as effective.
Chip is seen here getting past his marker on the latter’s inside channel and onto his master foot
Eg. As a right footed LB marking a very right footed winger, instead of letting him charge down the byline to cross with his stronger foot, close down that option and make him cut inside you. With the ball on his weaker left, his options are limited due to his lack of mastery. It’s also easier for you to cut in between the attacker and the ball, using your body as a shield, then take the ball away from him using the outside of your master foot.
Some of these practices come instinctively to those gifted with natural footballing brains. But for the rest of us, remembering the sequence of the 3 priorities will help us become better defensive players.
NB: This content was generously contributed by famed football writer Boonadine Limdane. To read more of his articles, please go to 4short1long.blogspot.sg
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