Pressing is an essential part of defense in soccer, so it is definitely worth knowing about the pros and cons of each style. Knowing the three main pressing styles will also teach you how to stay in position and your options when you are facing it.
A team with good chemistry can use their press to swarm the opposing team and get the ball back in great positions. A good press is frustrating to face off against since you know that you are going to be spending about half the time under pressure.
Below are the three mains types of pressing in soccer.
The low press in soccer is the most passive press since everyone on the pressing team is lined up in their own half. However, the upside of the low press is that it keeps everyone compact, making it very difficult to beat around the penalty box.
The “pressing” part of the low press comes when the opposing team makes it past the midline. Forwards and midfielders can trap the ball around the sidelines and try to force the opponents into making mistakes. This is an excellent press to use when the team has good speed up front for counterattacks.
The biggest downside of the low press is that the opposing team gets more time on the ball to make decisions. For example, if they happen to be a long ball team, they will love the fact that they can freely kick the ball in the box from midfield to try to get it to their bigger forwards.
The midfield press covers the very middle of the field, so about half of the team will be on the opponent’s side of the field. It is great for both counterattacking and is safe enough in most cases so teams can’t get a clear look on goal when they beat it.
One of the keys to the midfield press is to get the opposing team stuck on one side of the field. If this happens, they are forced to either make a bad pass towards the middle of the field or they will just kick the ball out of bounds.
One of the key weaknesses of the midfield press is defending the diagonal ball. If the opposing team has good passers either in midfield or out of the back, they could be able to kick a long diagonal pass to a forward that beats the back line. This is yet another reason why teams train their players on how to be a great playmakers.
You will find that a bunch of the most popular formations use the midfield press since the formations themselves make it an easy transition.
When using the high press, the entire team will be in the opponent’s half ready to trap the ball no matter where it is on the field. This can lead to great scoring opportunities when run correctly.
The high press requires everyone to be able to cover their zones as the opponents move the ball around. The hope is that either the ball is turned over near the goal or the opponents have to kick the ball out of bounds after being put under too much pressure.
This is the most active press that there is, so everyone on the team has to be on the same page for it to work. If one player doesn’t do their job, the press can be broken down and everyone has to scramble back to get in good defensive positions.
The biggest downside of high pressing is that the back line of the defense becomes extremely vulnerable if the opposing team beats the press. Since everyone is trying to push up the field to press, they will be on their heels and a tick slower as the opposing team moves up the field.