How to Become a Better Defender in Football & Soccer

Soccer by nature is a low-scoring sport involving lengthy battles for the ball and field position. Those low scores make defenders very important to the success of a soccer team. Playing defense is not the most glamorous job and defenders rarely score or make the headlines, but often they are the difference between winning and losing. By focusing on fundamentals and learning some tricks of the trade, you can become a better soccer defender.
Study film and tape of offensive players to get an idea of what moves you will see. Even if the film is tape of professional leagues and not someone you will face in real life, you can better see how to slow down and stop an offensive player and then implement those strategies.
Watch the ball and your opponent’s waist so you know where he is going at all times. By focusing on the ball and his waist, you will not be fooled by any trick moves or hesitation dribbles he might use.
Take angles to cut off the offense and stay in front of your opponent. Taking angles means that you run to a spot to cut off the ball instead of chasing the player in a straight line, while positioning yourself between your opponent and the goal at all times.
Keep your balance, stay on your feet and learn to play at different speeds. US Youth Soccer notes that staying balanced and learning to slow down from a sprint are important parts of stopping the ball. Teach PE adds that staying on your feet and using controlled aggression while trying to tackle is important. Tackling refers to trying to steal or tackle away the ball from your opponent. Leaving your feet or being too aggressive can give her a clear path to the goal.