When an opponent takes possession of the ball, at the very least, a defender must stop the ball from traveling forward.

What exactly can a defender control, and how can this be taught? It’s all about power for a defender. A defender’s only option is to prevent an offensive player from advancing. A defender cannot control an offensive player passing backward or to the side most of the time.

As a result, as a youth coach, you should focus on having your defenders deal with only one aspect of the situation: preventing the ball from advancing. The idea is to get as near to the assailant as possible and assess the situation from there. The attacker must not be given many areas to maneuver or time to consider his alternatives. This is known as “pressing,” which essentially means “closing space.”

Great defenders can anticipate a situation and close down space in an instant.

Many young players try to do too much on defense. They want to narrow down the field and then take the ball away from the offensive player. As a result, the attacking player frequently dribbles around the defensive man and sprints towards the net. A wonderful soccer coaching technique teaches your youngsters to close down space and block the ball from traveling ahead. This could entail never touching the ball instead of acting as a barrier to force the offensive player to use other options.

The next step is to contain the situation. Defensive players will want to confine an offensive player once they have closed the space on him. The defender will act as a barrier, preventing the offensive player from moving forward. The defensive player is not required to catch the ball and often should not do so at first. Encourage your children to be patient and to allow the attacking player to make a mistake.

What is the best way for a defensive player to contain? With as much body surface area as feasible, the athlete should be crouched facing the offensive player. The defender should be ready to react, but he isn’t lunging after the ball. The defender is putting pressure on the offensive player while waiting for him to make a move. The force alone often compels the offensive player to hand the ball over to the defensive player.

Defensive players should avoid lunging for the ball or “throwing the leg.” Offensive players frequently dribble around them and move forward as a result. Youth players must learn to be patient and not throw their legs unless they are very certain they will gain control.

The fewer duties you can give a young defender, the better—and your team’s defense will improve significantly. Defenders will have a lot more pleasure playing soccer once they learn to be patient and control an offensive player.