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Be a Better Defender: Improve Your Game
In such a time when soccer has gained popularity, a lot of people both young and old are looking to take part in the game. Football has played a major role in inspiring the youth of today to participate in competitive sport and this is also nurtured by the many organizations and schools where playing football is encouraged.
It’s the role of the football coach to train the players and help them improve their game but training drills for the defender vary from other positions on the pitch.
The Role of the Defender
Just as the name suggests, the defender is the backbone of any football team. The strength of the team is often determined by the strength of their defence. It is the responsibility of the defender to ensure the opposition doesn’t score.
In a football match, the defender mainly contests with the strikers and their job is to protect the goal area as the opposition tries to push forward to create goal-scoring chances. Therefore, it’s a critical position on the field and there are some main characteristics every defender must possess to be successful.
The Football Drills for a Defender
A defender needs to be hard both in the mind and physically, and they need to be stable as the position comes with a lot of challenge. The following are some of the football drills that will help in developing a good defender.
- Tackling drills; this requires the defender to have a clear focus. A good defender must build on their defensive tactics which require them to well positioned, be able to mark the opposition players effectively and win duels against them to retrieve possession of the ball.
- The speed drills; speed is paramount for any footballer. The strikers are usually the fastest on the pitch so it’s important that a good defender must use his pace wisely. A solid centre-back will often use his superior physical attributes to compete with the attackers but it’s also important they possess good speed as well.
- Lift and weight drills; all defenders need to be physically strong to allow them to dominate the opposition attackers in the duels, win headers, tackles and block shots. The lifting drills and eating healthy are the building blocks of a strong defender.
- Head drills; an obvious one but defenders need to be good in the air. Defending set pieces like corners and free-kicks properly is vital for any successful side but it’s also important for the defence to be able to dominate in the air during open play.
- Passing drills; the rise in popularity of ‘tika-taka’ football has seen defenders become the focal point of attacks with the centre-backs now the ones to bring the ball out from the back and link up with the midfield. This requires defenders to be much better at passing than they were 15-20 years ago.
How to improve your game as a defender
Every player seeks perfection and the defenders are no exception. The following are some of the tips that will help you improve on your game as a defender.
- You should be aggressive; being aggressive is the cornerstone of old-school football and many teams still use these tactics today to instill fear in to the opposition. For all the stylish passing football of teams like Arsenal or Man City, they often struggle against more aggressive sides like Stoke or West Brom.
- Work together with the team members; working as a unit is vital and that should start from the back.
- Ensure you clear the ball; clearing your lines when under pressure is important to let the team breath and regroup positionally.
- Keep things tight at the back; getting dragged out of position and losing your runner is a sure way to allow the opposition to create clear-cut chances.
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