5 Things Every Defender Should Be Communicating on the Field
Communication is essential to being a good soccer defender.
As a defender, you have to be vocal so that your teammates understand what's going on in certain situations during the match.
Here are 5 things that every defender should be saying to their teammates.
1. Which direction they want the midfielders and forwards to force the opponents to play
When defenders tell the midfielders and forwards which way they want them pressuring the opposition, everyone behind them can shift into position.
It also saves the whole team from a lot of running if they are able to keep the other team playing on one side of the field instead of allowing them to switch the ball.
2. When the team should be stepping up to pressure and when to sit back
After the defense clears a ball up the field, everyone should be stepping up to put pressure on the other team.
The defense should be verbally encouraging everyone to get up until they are a compact group. There should never be gaps between the defense and midfield lines or between the midfield and forward lines. Space makes it easy for the opponents to play or run into and attack.
If the defenders are stepping up, the whole team has to and the defense should communicate that. The same goes for if they are holding off on pressure, the team all sits back together.
3. Letting the midfielders know where their players are
As a former midfielder, it was always helpful when the defenders would let me know if there was a player slightly behind me and to my right or left that I should be marking.
As I got older and started playing defense, I realized how vital it was for us to be constantly talking to the midfielders and letting them know where those players are so that at the very least, they can cut off the passing lanes and prevent through balls.
4. When covering for a fellow defender
Good defensive position means always being able to provide cover for fellow defenders. This typically means standing behind them and slightly at an angle. This gives them the confidence to step up and win a ball or pressure a player because now they know they’ll have back up if it doesn’t go well.
It is also necessary to make sure that all the defenders have adjusted to this new shape and are staying connected.
5. Organizing set plays
When defending set plays such as a corner kick or free kick, someone needs to be organizing the marks. Occasionally the coach will have the goalkeeper organize, but sometimes it is the center back’s job.
It is vital that everyone marking is evenly matched. It’s a waste to have the best attacker in the air marking their weakest.