The Defender - Part 2
Last week we talked about the importance of speed and agility as a soccer defender but there is more to work on to become a complete player.
A defender must be focused for 90 minutes. Endurance plays a huge part in staying focused and alert. Fatigued players cannot keep up physically or mentally with the demands of the game. An error in judgment, or the inability to keep up with a player can cost your team the game. A defender has to know that if they are unable to perform at their highest ability for the entire game, they can become a liability. Endurance is not built up overnight, it’s the result of physical conditioning and repetition. A player who has not played a competitive match in months cannot expect to compete at the highest level for 90 minutes. Players who train and compete regularly will notice that the more they play, the better they are able to keep up with a long, demanding match and the less likely they are to feel mentally and physically fatigued.
Passing and Receiving
Defending is a necessity, it is the reaction to a loss of possession in an effort to win the ball back and stunt the opposition’s attack. In order to avoid constantly defending it’s important to keep possession and move the ball around the field. Passing and receiving the ball comfortably under pressure is a cornerstone of maintaining possession and is contingent on a basic level of technical ability. In order to correctly receive the ball, first players must focus on the quality of their first touch with different surfaces of play, in the absence of pressure. Defenders must be fully adept at controlling the ball in any circumstance with their chest, thigh, head and feet. As a defender, the risk is increased in possession because of the proximity to your own goal, so it is of utmost importance that defenders be able to safely receive balls. The other part of the equation is being able to pass the ball accurately and with the proper weight. Again, as a defender, connecting your passes becomes crucial, as errant passes can cause dangerous counter-attacks. SKLZ offers the Quickster Soccer Combo which allows players to work on both of these fundamental skills with the use of a practice goal and a rebounder. Passing the ball into the rebounder at differing speeds and angles will provide the player with an array of bounces and challenges. Accurately passing the ball into the rebounder, and eventually practice goal, works on technical passing ability.
Next week we continue our soccer series and welcome guest contributor Nick Perra - captain of the US Beach Soccer National team, member of the US Futsal National team and NCAA National Champion in soccer from UC Santa Barbara - with a look at what forwards need to work on to up their game.