5 Tips for Being a Better Center Back
The center back is quite literally the backbone of the entire defense. They are the last defender before the keeper. It is their job to keep the defense in line and prevent the opposition from gaining any easy way in.
Some soccer formations go with two center backs and others stick with one.
Whatever the formation, here are five useful tips for being a better center back:
1. Listen to your goalkeeper
As a center back you can see most of the field and what is going on, but the keeper has a more complete view and can help organize the back line.
2. Be proactive, not reactive
Moving without the ball is important, so that when you have the opportunity to read a play, you can get there in time. If you are proactive you can save the entire team from doing a lot of chasing.
Oftentimes center backs aren’t the fastest players on the field. If the opposing outside winger is flying down the side of the field, it isn’t ideal to get caught in a footrace with them.
You can prevent that from happening by reading the play, getting to the ball first and either clearing it from danger or shielding it from the opposition.
3. Be vocal
Give the midfielders in front of you information about where their players are so that they can cut off passes and close gaps to make your job easier.
Also, use what the goalkeeper is telling you and help reiterate that to the forwards and midfielders.
4. Win balls out of the air
As a center back, it’s important to make absolutely sure you are keeping the game in front of you.
If you have the opportunity to win a ball that the opposition is trying to play over your line, go win it. If you are playing as a single center back, make sure your other defenders are pinched in and giving you cover in case the ball does get over you.
5. Keep your back line connected
Your goalkeeper should and will help you keep your fellow defenders from straying too far apart. This is to prevent getting split by through balls that are played in.
And as we mentioned in No. 4, this is also part of keeping the game in front of you.
These are just a few tips of being a better center back. If you are confident in your abilities and are able to play relaxed, it will have a positive, calming effect on your teammates as well.