Defenders are the backbone of a team, possessing the grit to tackle opposing players and do whatever it takes to prevent the other team from scoring.
They usually hang back, protecting the goalie from breakaways and serving as options for midfielders.
Defenders have a hard, often unappreciated job, and it takes a determined player to become one. Here are the aspects you’ll need:
Soccer Defender Aspects
These are the traits that good defenders possess. If you have these traits, you should consider becoming a defender. If you are a defender, and don’t possess one of these traits, learn it.
If you are a defender, you need to know how to defend well. You need to be an aggressive, hungry defender that knows defensive technique.
Forwards and midfielders can be fast. You need to be faster. As a defender, developing speed is very important.
Read Soccer Speed Guide.
Strong defenders push offensive players off of the ball, and can shield the ball well. The strength to shield the ball is an extremely important attribute of a good defender.
Read Soccer Shielding Guide.
Defenders need good heading ability.
It allows them to clear balls played through the air and protect against corners and free kicks.
Read Soccer Heading Guide
Soccer Defending Tips
The best defenders may not actually be the best defenders, but the most aggressive. Of course, you don’t want to just stab in every time. That is not aggression. Aggression is using your body and never letting anyone past you.
Block the Shot
The main goal of a defender is to prevent a shot from ever reaching goal. Do whatever you can to prevent a shot from happening, and if he does try to shot, block it.
Don’t Be Afraid
To be a defender, you have to be fearless. You can’t be afraid of someone getting past you or kicking you with the ball. You have to go out there and defend fearless.
Defenders are useless alone. To be successful you have to work with other defenders and midfielders.
You need to coordinate to successfully execute an offside trap. When a defender is beaten, someone else needs to cover for him. You need to communicate to double-team an opposing player.
All of these require that you work together with your team, especially with your fellow defenders.
Clear the Ball
Many times, you will have to clear the ball. Your first choice should be the field, then the sidelines, then out for a corner.
A good clear allows the team to regroup and avoid an unnecessary goal.
Don’t Clear the Ball
However, many defenders clear too much. Unless pressure is high, you should always look to pass.
Otherwise, it’s hard to gain possession, and there will be more attacks you must defend against.