Not many can say that they have mastered a sport. Sure there are exceptions but to do this when it comes to a sport that implies the collaboration of 11 individuals is an even greater challenge. When it comes to soccer, this is almost impossible. Due to this reason, it is such an exciting game that always provides thrilling new stories. Basically you can't have one guy do everything: to sit in goal, defend, create chances and score goals as well. Sure, certain players can be brilliant on certain positions but no one player can be expected to do it all. It's a team game thus, if it is to be successful every player needs to be tactically aware and help his team mates in whatever ways he can.
If you're wondering what the backbone of a great soccer team is, the answer is always a solid defense. If you ever played this game, wherever the level, amateur or professional, you will have noticed something: in every system, the defense plays an important part in the team setup. They are the tampon zone between the goalie and the opposition. And a keeper can only do so much, he needs his defenders to protect him and allow as little space as possible for the opposition to create chances.
Some may say that the best defense is offense. I'm not one to argue but the truth of the matter is that sometimes you have to defend and when you do, one of the best ways to achieve that is to play the offside trap. In the following I will elaborate on what is important in order for your team to do exactly that.
First, your players need to be able to communicate to each other, namely speak the same language or if they don't, they need to elaborate a system in which every single one of them knows how to react in a certain situation. Secondly, you need to instill in them the concept of playing in a line, you know a team is as weak as its weakest link and that generally is the easiest to spot in defense, thus they need to synchronize themselves, at a moment's notice, especially when the ball is not in your team's possession.
The keeper has an important role to play in this because sometimes he sees the game better than any player. If he shouts something, the defensive line needs to respond quickly and in
Aside from coordination and understanding, a solid defense needs to master the art of marking. In the following we will discuss drills that allow you to achieve just that. In comparison to the ways of the old, in which man marking played an essential role in the defending end of the pitch, now-at-days the zonal man-marking system seems to have flourished. And here is why: if the opposition's player your defender was assigned to mark makes a run across the field, it just doesn't make sense to follow the player to the other side of the pitch. Still, a good exercise before going into real action is to play a game where you can only defend the player you're marking. It's great for both fitness and individual defending due to the fact that you'll be chasing the player you're marking all over the field instead of passing that player on or switching like you'd do in a real game. It may be a little tiresome but it is nevertheless a useful drill.