The following posts have been tagged with "soccer cover"...

Soccer Width In Defense


Too much width in your soccer defense is bad. The wider your soccer defense is, the more spread out & the easier it is to penetrate. Your defenders should stay close enough together to support each other, but not too close (if they are too close, they lose effectiveness & can’t cover enough space). Your soccer defense should be just wide enough to slow down the attack (i.e., just wide enough that the attackers can’t easily go around you) & should “shift & sag” so there are multiple layers of defenders between the ball & the goal. As your team gets older & plays better teams, the attackers will start to “switch fields” and use a wide attack as a way to get around your defense & to loosen it up. (See “Soccer Support“, “Soccer Cover“, “Support Distance & Relative Position in Soccer“, “Spread The Soccer Field” & “Stretched Soccer Defense“).


Soccer Sweeper


(abb. “SW”). A fast & tough player who usually plays just behind the fullbacks, although he is allowed to roam. His job is to cover the space between the fullbacks & the goalkeeper & to stop “breakaways” & “sweep up” the ball or kick long “through balls” out of bounds so the defense has time to recover. Using a sweeper increases your “depth” & field coverage and therefore allows your fullbacks to push up to support your attack. A Sweeper is like a free safety in American football. A good sweeper must be fast & willing to make contact to steal the ball. A Sweeper can be like a coach on the field and can help direct adjustments, since he is usually the deepest field player and in a good position to view the game. The trend with pro teams is to not use a Sweeper but instead to use a “flatback four”, which is 4 Fullbacks playing a zone defense and using a lot of “offside traps”. A Sweeper was originally used to back up man-to-man defenses. However, using a Sweeper can also be used with a “Zone Defense” (i.e., “Spatial Defense”). A great Sweeper who has speed and great coverage skills can allow your Fullbacks to push up to support your attack, even if they aren’t fast, because he will slow down the attack and give your Fullbacks time to recover. However, if you don’t have a great Sweeper, a better alternative for most recreational teams is to use a 3-2-2-3 formation where the FB’s stay deep, as described in “Formations”. (See “Push Up“, “Formations“, “Through Ball“, “Breakaway“, “Second Sweeper“, “Support“, “Cover“, “Defending Deep” & “Zone Defense“).


Soccer Support Distance & Relative Position


On offense, you want to “spread the field” & to add “width”. This means the distance between players (especially F’s & MF’s) will be greater than when they are on defense. The players still “support” each other, but on offense, players will be more “square” than when on defense. For example, if your LF has the ball & is attacking, your CF may be even with him or in front of him & a long pass away. Whereas, on defense, if your LF is the First Defender, your CF will probably sag back & move within 5-7 steps so he can provide defensive “support” (meaning he is helping contain the attacker & is a Second Defender because if the ballhandler moves his way he must become the First Defender) & “cover” (meaning that he is covering space so there isn’t a hole for the attacker’s to easily penetrate; in other words, if he wasn’t covering that space the attackers would go through it to penetrate the defense). (See “Support“, “Cover“, “Depth“, “Zone Defense“, “Sag” & “Creating Space“).


Soccer Support


You want to have “support” on both offense & defense. “Support”
refers to having teammates who are properly positioned near the ball (i.e., within passing range on offense and within 5 – 10 steps of the First Defender on defense):

A.  On Offense, there should always be 2 or more teammates within passing range (7-15 steps, depending on age) who are open for a pass. One of these can be following the ballhandler (a “trailer”). The key concepts are “First Atacker”, “Second Attacker”, and “Third Attacker”. (See “First Attacker”, “Push Up”, “Support Distance & Relative Position”, “Attacking”, “Attacking Tips” in Chapter 1, & Chapter 2, “How To Teach Offense & Defense”).
B.  On Defense there are 3 key concepts:
  1. “First Defender” – The player closest to the ball must challenge the ball & try to slow down the attack or block a shot, and
  • “Second Defenders” – The second closest player must be the Second Defender and back up the First Defender and stay between the ball and the goal. The Second Defender should stay about 5-7 steps behind the First Defender and should become the First Defender if the ballhandler gets by the initial First Defender. (In this case, the initial defender should drop back to help the defender who was backing him up).
  • “Shift & Sag” – As soon as the ball is lost, your team should quickly “transition” from offense to defense; the closest player should become the “First Defender” the next two closest should become the “Second Defenders” & all the rest should “shift & sag”. What this means is to shift so they are generally between the ball & the goal & sag back to create multiple layers of defenders (which is called “Depth”). There are 2 rules that you can use to teach your players how to “shift & sag” on defense:
    • The left & right players (e.g., the LMF & RMF or LFB & RFB) should not go past the center of the field.
  • Don’t go past a teammate unless it is an emergency & never go past two teammates. These rules apply to defense but not offense because more creativity is allowed on offense. (See “Shift & Sag“, “Shape“, “Depth“, “Cover“, “Width In Defense“, “Support Distance & Relative Position“, “Zone Defense“, “Defense” & “Flat Defense“).
  • C.  All players should shift toward the ball whether on offense or defense. Ideally, there should be multiple layers of support on both offense & defense.


    Soccer Shift


    Attackers & defenders should constantly be shifting (as the soccer ball moves) so they are in a position to provide “support” or “cover”. (See “Support“, “Cover“, “Shift & Sag” & “Support Distance“).


    Soccer Recover


    (aka “Recovering Run”). Refers to soccer players running to get “goalside” when their team loses the soccer ball so they can take up defensive positions. In recreational soccer, if the other team has a fast break, defenders will often kick the soccer ball out of bounds so the defense has time to “recover”. (See “Shift & Sag” and “Cover“).


    Soccer Depth


    Depth on defense means having several defenders (ideally, multiple layers of defenders) spaced between the ball & the goal who are in a soccer position to “recover” in time to stop an attack on their goal. This and First Defender/Second Defender are the most important defensive concepts. Depth is the opposite of a “flat” defense. Depth in attack means having support to the rear so the ball can be passed back or “dropped”. (See “Soccer Support“, “Soccer Through Balls“, “Soccer Defending Deep“, “Soccer Zone Defense“, “Soccer Flat Defense” & “Soccer Cover“).


    Soccer Defense


    See “Soccer Shift & Sag”, “Soccer Support”, “Soccer Zone Defense”, “Soccer Formations“, “Soccer Depth“, “Soccer Cover“, “Soccer Mark“, “Soccer Pressure”, “Soccer Defending Deep“, “Width In Defense”, “Shape”, “Support Distance & Relative Position”, “Defending Third“, “Win The Ball”, “Ball Watching“, “Breakaway“, “Clear“, “Danger Zone“, “Soccer Dangerous Attackers“, “Soccer Goalkeeper“, “Verbal Soccer Signals“, “Where…From” and Soccer Defensive Tips at SoccerHelp Premium.


    Soccer Cover


    “Cover”, “Support”, & “Depth” are related but different soccer concepts. Whereas “support” means there should be several soccer teammates within the immediate area of the ball (i.e., within the distance of a long pass on offense and a short pass on defense) and applies to soccer offense (i.e., receivers supporting the passer) and soccer defense (e.g., the Second Defender should back up the First Defender), “cover” is a defensive soccer concept that has 3 meanings. One meaning refers to areas of the soccer field that your “defense” should cover. For example, when the soccer ball is on your end of the field, your soccer defense must “cover” your Danger Zone & if the ball is in your Danger Zone your defenders must especially cover the area in front of your soccer goal. The area your soccer defense must cover depends on how far away from your goal the ball is, which side of the soccer field it is on & who is faster, your soccer fullbacks or the other team’s forwards (e.g., if your fullbacks are faster then you can “push up” more because you have the speed to “recover”). A second meaning refers to a soccer defender guarding an opponent (e.g., “His job is to cover the Right Forward”). The term cover is also used as a synonym for defensive soccer support (e.g., “The Sweeper is responsible for providing cover for his fullbacks”. This is similar to the concept of a free safety providing cover for his cornerbacks and linebackers in American football). (See “Support“, “Shift & Sag“, “Depth“, “Width In Defense” & “Recover“).


    Soccer Coverage


    Refers to being sure your soccer defenders are covering important space such as the Danger Zone if the other soccer team is attacking near your soccer goal. (See “Cover“, “Shift & Sag“, & “Support“).