6 Ways Defenders Can Improve Their Offside Trap
Running an offside trap can be a dangerous way to defend, but it can also be a great way to hold a high line and play in your opponent's half if you can coordinate the movements between defenders.
Let's look at 6 ways to hold a high line and catch the other team offside:
1. Reading The Game is Vital
It goes without saying that being able to read the game is an absolute must for running an offside trap. You've got to be able to see the whole field, what's on your peripheries, what's behind you, in front of you, etc.
Anticipating the timing of your opponent's runs and when the ball is played is critical to evaluating when to push up and out, to catch the other team offside.
2. Communication Is Key
Your goalkeeper and back four must be in constant dialogue with one another. Yelling at each other to push out, when to pass on marks, when to press the ball. Being able to give constructive criticism to one another during the match is vital for running an offside trap.
Develop a culture of peer review in training, and encourage discourse, that way when players are running the trap in a match they are equipped to share what is and isn't working, and won't take criticism personally.
3. Stay Connected
Your back four has to stay connected to run the offside trap. Defenders should be compact out of possession, with 5-7 yards between them on the horizontal axis.
Staying tight will allow your back line the best opportunity to limit penetration, and ensure that when your team pushes out, the day so as a coherent unit.
4. Synchronize Your Back Line
To successfully run an offside trap their must be syncopation between your four defenders. They have to move in concert with one another.
In general, it's good to assign one of the center backs to monitor how well coordinated the movements of the back four are. The CB has a unique vantage point to read the game and can be a great orchestrater in synching up your defenders.
5. Make Sure The Midfield is Engaged
Your midfielders have to be engaged to run a successful offside trap. They need to apply pressure on the other team so they can't pick a pass, but equally important is that they must track midfield runners.
If you are playing a high line and an offside trap, it's is very likely that the other team will try to beat your trap by sending midfield runners from deep. Make sure your midfielders track these runs and are aware of what the team is faced with.
6. Make In Game Adjustments
Your team has to be able to make real time adjustments on the fly. If there are aspects to your trap that aren't working, you've got to be able to identify them quickly, have players that can communicate them, and then resolve them by either altering your tactics or tightening up in one of the areas mentioned above.
Holding a high line and running an offside trap can be a risky game to play, but if you consider some of the six concepts above, and work hard at them in training, there's no doubt that you can start to develop a successful trap that frustrates your opponents to no end.