Soccer Zone Defense

There are 2 basic types of defense: a zone defense where defenders stay between the ball & the goal they are defending & are assigned a position relative to their teammates (e.g., right, center, or left); and man-to-man defense where players are assigned to guard specific opponents (this is called a "marking" defense). Many college & pro teams today use some type of zone defense, but mark attackers who come into their "zone". I think a zone defense works best for recreational teams because it doesn't require fast players or great stamina like man-to-man defense does (i.e., it is better suited to slower players who don't have great stamina). I use a shifting zone defense with "FB's", "MF's" & "F's" assigned a "relative position"; for example, Right Fullback (RFB), Center FB (CFB), and Left FB (LFB). Two key concepts to teach regardless of which type of defense you use are "First Defender" and "Second Defender". Also, you must teach your players to mark attackers who are in scoring range (i.e., "Dangerous Attackers") regardless of whether you play a zone or man-to-man.

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