defender needs help dealing with really good dribblers!

Tell us about the league you playing in, tryouts, etc
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New User
Posts: 2
Joined: 11 Oct 2009, 20:21


I'm currently an 18 year old playing football as a social pasttime and throughout the years, my (really small) physique lets me pull off sliding tackles with ease (which proved pretty useful until NOW).

i moved into college and that's when i knew my prowess was pretty much useless. there are a few really good dribblers who can keep the ball sticking to their feet 99% of the time and it's damn near impossible to get the ball off him without some sort of contact (which would lead to a foul).

im forced to move laterally but i feel really useless just walking sideways down the lenght of the field and pressuring him to the sides because he will eventually make a pass to the middle of the penalty box, resulting in a goal!!

when i take a stance and try to put my feet in front of the ball, he dribbles pass me with ease so i never commit myself to a tackle

im playing with strangers which is why i dont resort to pushing them off the ball cos it pretty much pisses them off while we're supposed to be having a leisurely game of footy.

and anyone can recommend a useful fake to lure the attackers in :D

Veteran Member
Posts: 822
Joined: 15 Apr 2007, 23:37


Hey jonting, welcome to EF.

For starters, don't slide tackle in friendly pickup games. They can be dangerous and generally are reserved for official-competitive games.

Jockeying is a key skill for defending. Watch the ball, stay on the balls of your feet (near you toes), approach from an angle, and take many little steps to avoid being caught wrong footed.
If you want the dribbler to go to the left, position you body facing that way (not all the way, but at an angle) with your right foot forward.
Don't let him cut across your body (to the opposite direction), but guide him to the side you want him to go.

Take a look at these pages: ... hp?t=10023
Heres a video

You should also learn how dribblers try to get past you, in order to undertand how to defend against them: ... php?t=3894
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New User
Posts: 2
Joined: 11 Oct 2009, 20:21


thanks a lot pickyourheadup!
the 1v1 post was just what i was looking for.... if i were to summarise the whole thing, it would tell me to: just wait for the opportunity to present themselves before i make a tackle? (jockeying)

its not so much about the shooting because for me, the dribblers tend to keep the ball too close to their legs and they dont have enough backlift to power their shot but when they make a pass.... should i blame myself for not being able to block it? or is that when i should rely on my teammates?

Veteran Member
Posts: 557
Joined: 06 Jan 2007, 13:20
Location: FL, USA


Lol you're talking about the 1v1 success during tryouts guide I wrote right?

That was sooo long ago haha but don't worry about not stopping the pass, the whole point of defending at higher levels is pressure then cover. You pressure the man and your team should balance and cover where you are compared to the player with the ball. But if your player passes the ball you haul butt to cover your man and cover your teammates.

Defending in whole is patient aggression, you want the ball but you don't go in recklessly to get it. So it's a fine balance between jockeying someone seriously or just standing in front of them. Jockeying means trying to get the ball, constantly shifting angles and getting closer to the man, but not too close so as he beats you. It's a fine skill that takes a while to learn but I'm sure you'll get it. For me, I've just watched so many games now I just do what feels right I can't explain it lol.

Hope this helped!
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The Italian Mod
Posts: 3028
Joined: 19 Jun 2007, 22:03


You're doing your job simply by keeping the man in front of you. You should be doing your best to win the ball and discourage him from playing the ball in, but if he does, he does. You need to count on the other defenders to pick up their marks, and make it very hard for them to score. Defending isn't the most glamorous job, and its far from easy, but you need to take pride in your work.

You shouldn't be 'walking' side to side, but keeping your body straight to them, and keeping one eye on their hips, and the other on the ball. The more you play, the better you will be at judging time and space, and being able to bounce on the ball when they make a rare harsh touch, or something. Most of all, never lunge. It's hard for some players to resist, but all those great dribblers really want you to do is show some kind of hesitation, or take your eyes off the ball... Anything, really. Stay on your toes, and be alert. Like the others said, patience is key.

I've played defense on some of the best teams in my province, but I'm also a naturalized midfielder. So I get to know more of what to look for in an attacker and how to combat it, mostly because I'm trying to do that myself a lot. :P

Hope to have helped you.

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