Improve your 1v1 defending

Become a solid defender that attacking players are afraid to run at!

If you're a fullback, chances are you will have to deal with many 1v1 situations within a single game. When you're in this scenario; the game, all players, the crowd and everyone is focused in on the 1v1 duel that is about to transpire. Attacking players thrive on this and if you don't have a game plan about how you're going to stop the attacker, you're going to get embarrassed in front of everybody!

To avoid this, you need to know at least the basics in 1v1 defending and what your purpose is in this situation. To start with, your purpose is very simple, to either win the ball back or to slow them down. In most cases, your goal will be to slow them down and the reason for this is simple, slow the game down so that your teammates have time to get back into position and provide back up if you do end up getting beaten.

The way you slow them down is to step off them a little by not diving in to win the ball straight away. If you dive in every time, an intelligent attacking player will quickly realise this and beat you with either his first touch or crafty body positioning. So give them a bit of space, don't be afraid of allowing them to turn and hold off by 1 - 2 meters. Then, you want to show them a particular direction to run into.

Force him to run towards the sideline! This will give you a greater chance of either slowing down the game or winning the ball back. It will also reduce the space he has to run into with the ball and it's taking them away from the goal. Quite simply, all you have to do is position your body in such a way where their only option is to run down the sideline. If you can do this then your percentages of getting beaten will decrease and your value to the team will increase!

Thanks for reading,

Chris Toovey