How to defend like England: an introduction
Looking to improve your players’ defensive tactics? This is the first in a series of articles on what you can learn from our national teams. This time, we cover the basics of an effective defence, and what that means for you.
What does a skilful player look like to you?
Are they the ones who bring the crowd to the edge of their seat as they glide seamlessly past the opposition?
Are they the ones that make you hold your breath in anticipation as they prepare to bend the ball into the back of the net with laser-like precision?
Perhaps they’re the ones who can pick out a pass that’s out of this world?
Whoever they are, you know they have the skill to make something magical happen. Paul Gascoigne. David Beckham. Wayne Rooney. Kelly Smith. Ellen White. Nikita Parris.
But what about great defenders? The ones who dominate within their own box. Or the ones whose defensive tactics force the opposition out wide, providing a precious delay for their own team to get back into shape.
Aren't they skilful too?
What your players need from you
Defending is an art. There's intelligent craft and skill behind each defensive action, which takes time to refine.
That’s where you come in. As a coach, it’s your job to give your players the tools they need to defend at their best.
Here’s what to do:
- Introduce players to defending early on.
- Prepare yourself. Get to grips with the key skills of defending. Understand the roles and responsibilities that come into play.
- Learn from the best. That’s where the England team can help.
So, what are England’s defensive tactics?
Our England teams aim to delay, deny and dictate the opposition attack – a key part of their out of possession strategy.
Players use their skills to deny space and dictate the direction and speed of play. All while preventing the opposition from using their preferred attacking method.
Check out this video for a closer look: