Principles of defending in football.

A principle is a known way of behavior.

It should be DELIBERATELY taught so that an individual knows and understands what, when, where, why and how to behave.

Defending in football is best understood and efficient when player(s) as an individual or group understand how to apply the principles of defending.

These are; Immediate chase, delay, control, depth, compactness then control and restraint.

Immediate chase: the moment a team loses possession, the nearest player to the ball in the defending team has to apply pressure on the player with the ball.

Applying pressure on the ball denies the attacker space and time, forces the attacker into mistakes and prevents the attacker from looking up to make a good decision.

The player can also make a recovery run to get behind the ball (between the ball and defending goal).

Delay: the pressuring defender forces the attacking team to slow down in order to allow the defending team to re-organize one of the skills required to perform good delaying is jockeying, poking the ball, and peddling backward.

Depth (cover): This’ the immediate organization of the defending players behind the ball (between the ball and goal they are defending) and the pressuring defender.

The defenders offering cover should be positioned within an appropriate distance from the pressing defender to enable them to react fastest in case the pressuring defender is beaten by the attacker.

The covering defender should be able to communicate verbally and issue instructions to the pressuring defender.

Compactness: as defending players recover towards their goal, they have to concentrate in the area where the ball is to limit the opponent’s ability to directly attack the goal.

Recovery runs should be as central to the defending goal as possible.

Compactness is meant to deny attackers penetration and to force them to take the longest route towards goal.

Control and restraint: defending players have to be in control of their actions to avoid easily being beaten.

While challenging for the ball, they should use controlled aggression as poorly timed tackles make it easy for attackers.

Defenders should stay on their feet unless if they are very sure that they can win the ball.

“It’s very important that all players are taught and can apply the principles of defense in the right way because at some point in football all players will be required to defend.”

Players that have been taught and understand the principles of defending will find it easy to learn the roles of defending in football.

Principles of defending are a necessary basic if players are to play at a very high level.

Players should be taught defensive football skills like tackling, peddling backward, jockeying, blocking, intercepting, defensive heading and poking the ball before they can be taught principles of defending because the principles cant be effectively applied without quality execution of defending skills.


8 thoughts on “Principles of defending in football.

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