One of The best thing about being a pro is the experiences you get to share with your teammates. The locker room is always a great place to learn more about your teammates and to pick the brains of the vets which still proved valuable in my development. I loved talking with teammates like Pablo Mastroeni, Brian Mullan, Claudio Lopez, to name a few. I knew to pick their brains was valuable and would help me with my goals and how I was going to be successful. When chatting with the defenders, they always are talking about the strikers who are challenging to play against and why. In the pros, players are always trying to improve and do anything in their power to succeed. I was a jack of all trades which required me to learn different positions. For today's post, I wanted to shed some light on defenders and what they need to learn when playing against a tricky forward. Here are my 4 tips:
1. Head Always Has to Be on a Swivel. (Be Mindful of What Kind of Runs They Make)
Soccer is non-stop, and so much is going on at all times. When playing in the game, you have to be aware of your surroundings. If you find yourself ball watching, especially as a defender, it can be costly. Defenders have to look around and be aware of their surroundings. Forwards purposely try and get out of your line of vision so they can make tricky runs and beat you to your spot. Centerbacks have to open their bodies and fill for players around them, so they don't get beat.
2. Center Backs Must Communicate with Each Other
Centerbacks are a duo and have to be on the same page; The best center-backs have a partner in crime that compliments each other. Communication among center backs is one of the most important partnerships in the game of soccer because they're the last two players before the goal. What you see from Forwards a lot is runs in between the center-backs. This run often happens because it causes confusion between the pair. The run makes the center-backs have to communicate and decide who picks up the player. Always chatting and being overly vocal helps the team more than the latter.
3. Make the Forwards Play BackwardYou never want the forwards to get to turn up and run at you. Forwards running directly at you makes defenders lives difficult because someone has to slow up the ball. Having to commit to the play means players leaving their positions which makes the attacking able to exploit that spot. When forwards check back to the ball, you have to be touch tight. You have to make their lives difficult and want the striker to playback or risk losing the ball or get tackled.
4. Make It Difficult for Them to Get into the Flow of the Game
Defenders need to be disruptive. They need to be the players that are tough and set the tone for everyone. Defenders can't be passive and have to be tough and willing to get stuck in and be a big presence. Allowing the striker to get touches, to hold up the ball, to get shots off will only improve their confidence, and make the game more challenging for you.
Though defenders don't get the praise, the importance of the defense is huge. Defenders are the rock of the team and the players who will do whatever it takes for the team to win and to be successful. For all the defenders out there, continue to push yourself and learn from your mistakes, because they will happen. Continue to enjoy the process and continue to be a student of the game