How to Be a Better Defender in 6-a-Side Football
Regular visitors to our blog will know that, last time, we gave you a handful of hints and tips on how to improve as a goalkeeper for your 6-a-side time. Today, we’re going to do the same thing for defenders, who are often the last line of… well… defence between the opposing team and the goalie.
In a regular 11-a-side football match, players are assigned their positions, and they stay within a certain area to play their role to optimal effect. In 6-a-side, it’s a little different. The pitch is shorter, the play is faster, and circumstances can change in an instant. This means that, while you might be labelled as a defender, attacker, or midfielder, you’re more likely to assume all three roles throughout the course of a match. In many ways, 6-a-side tactics are closer to basketball than football, with the team following the ball around the pitch, ready to take advantage of any opportunity. Even if you’re the team’s designated striker, be prepared to jump into defence should the need arise, as it could be the difference between a win or a loss.
Be ready for a counterattack
While covering the ball as a team is all well and good during an attack run, what happens when your opponents get control of the ball? Make sure that you have at least one player holding a defensive position at all times, ready to cover against any counterattack. With the small pitch and more frenetic pace of the match, they won’t be left out of the action for long.
Learn to transition quickly
If your team is surging towards the opposition goal and suddenly loses control of the ball, it can knock you off your stride. A brief pause and a slow jog back down the pitch towards your own goal is not an uncommon reaction (again, it’s something we’re used to from association football matches), but that delay can give the other team’s striker all the time they need to score a goal, more or less unopposed. Condition yourself to react immediately to a change in direction, sprinting back down the pitch to intercept. Not only is it an effective form of defence, but it can really put your opponents off their stride.
Block Those Shots
The key to good 6-a-side defence is keeping yourself goal-side of the other team. It’s a simple calculation: if you’re between their striker and the goal, you’re limiting their chance of scoring. To make the most of this tactic, you’ve got to make sure they don’t get around you, which means standing your ground while they target the goal. If they move forward, you keep pace with them, cutting off a clear shot.
Keep the Other Team at Bay
With overhead kicks banned in 6-a-side, most goals are knocked in close to the goal mouth. A good defence tactic, then, is not just to block the player’s path but to push them away from the danger zone. Not literally, of course—it’s still a non-contact sport—but use your body to block their progress and direct them away from the goal towards the side of the pitch, where they can cause the least damage.
Get in touch
If you’re ready to put together your own 6-a-side football team, whether you want to be in defence or not, get in touch with Soccer Gods today and register your interest in joining a local league.