How to pressure the ball

Skillful defenders can read and anticipate their opponent’s moves. Typically, when the attacker has the ball at his feet you have to jockey him. To contain or jockey an attacker means to position yourself in front of him and wait until he releases the ball far enough for you to tackle or intercept. Never charge at the ball unless you are absolutely sure that you will win it.

Defending techniques


When jockeying, you have to lower your center of gravity by bending the knees and leaning forward. Don’t just lunge at the ball, but be prepared to backpedal or shuffle sideways if the attacker moves. Never face the attacker straight on, because he will run past you or will put the ball between your legs. Instead, approach the attacker at a 45-degree angle forcing him towards the sideline.

Block tackle

The block tackle is the most basic way of tackling. Plant your supporting foot firmly so that you don’t lose balance. Then, as your opponent contacts the ball use the arch of your free foot to block. When timed properly, the block tackle will cause the attacker to stumble or cough up the ball.

Poke tackle

When poke tackling, you suddenly stab the ball away from your opponent. Try to tackle with your foot that is closer to the ball.

Slide tackle

Although spectacular, slide tackling should only be used in desperation or when you are away from your own goal. Slide tackles are also very effective against opponents who are dribbling down the sideline or shielding the ball.

Updated: June 3, 2016
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