Soccer Definitions that Begin with the Letter O

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Obstruction - See "Fouls, Indirect Kick, Impeding the Progress of an Opponent" in soccer. Soccer Obstruction

Off His Line - When the goalkeeper comes out of the goal (i.e., "off" the goal line between the goal posts) he is "off his line". Soccer Off His Line

Off-The-Ball - Refers to players on the attacking team who do not have the ball (e.g., "movement off-the-ball"). In contrast, the player with the ball (the "ballhandler") is "onball". (See "Onball Attacker", "Movement Off-The-Ball" & "Creating Space"). Soccer Off-The-Ball

- A style of play emphasizing "off-the-ball" movement as a way to "create space" & scoring opportunities. (See "Movement Off-The-Ball" & "Creating Space"). Soccer Off-The-Ball Attacking

Off-The-Play - Refers to a player who is not directly involved in the play. For example, if one player passes to another, they are in the play, but their teammates are "off the play". This term can refer to players who are on offense & defense. (For example, see "Third Man Running"). Soccer Off-The-Play

Offense - (aka "Attacking"). See "Attacking", "Attacking Plan" & "Creating Space". Soccer Offense

- (Abbreviation is "OMF"). See "Formations". Soccer Offensive Midfielders

Offside Rule
Soccer (Simplified)
- If "offside" is called in your age bracket, you can teach this simple version: You are not offside if you are doing any of the following:

  1. Are in your own half of the field (your half is the half your goalkeeper is on). Or,
  2. Are even with or behind the ball. Or,
  3. Don't go past the "Second Last Defender" (The goalkeeper is usually, but not always, the last defender; this might be the case if the goalkeeper is out of goal). Or,
  4. Receive the ball direct from a goal kick, corner kick or throw-in. (But you can be offside if you receive it direct on a "free kick"). Or,
  5. Are the ballhandler (the ballhandler can be closer to the goal than the ball if he has his back to the goal).

The penalty for Offside is that an Indirect Free Kick is awarded to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the offside occurred.

When my forwards "push up" without the ball, I tell them to stay 2 steps behind the Last Defender (not counting the goalkeeper) so they are less likely to be caught offside or to be accidentally called offside. (See "Played" & "Offside Rule, Detailed"). Soccer Offside Rule (Simplified)

Offside Rule (Detailed) - What makes the offside rule especially complicated is that a player can be in an "offside position" without being offside. Two things are necessary to be "offside":

1st - The player must be in an "offside position" at the moment the ball is "played" by a teammate. To be in an "offside position", a player must be on the opponent's half of the field & closer to the opponent's goal line than both the ball & the second-last defender. A player is not in an offside position if he is on his own half of the field (i.e. the half his goalkeeper is on), or even with the second-to-last defender or the last 2 defenders. (The goalkeeper is usually the last defender, or one of the last two, but he might not be; the rules just refer to the last 2 defenders & don't mention the goalkeeper). This is often difficult to call. (For example, if a player is even with the Second Last Defender & thereby in an "onside position" but runs past the Second Last Defender a split second after his teammate makes a through pass. In this example, the player is not offside because he was in an onside position at the moment the ball was played.)

2nd - The player must be involved in "active play" by either:

  • gaining an advantage by being in an offside position, or
  • interfering with play, or
  • interfering with an opponent

For example, if a player is in an "offside position" but not involved in the play, he would not be "offside". This can be a tough call & can be very judgmental. For example, what if the "onball attacker" is to the right of the goal but a teammate is in an "offside position" to the left of the goal? You can argue that the teammate wasn't involved in the play, but you can also argue that he distracted the goalkeeper because the goalkeeper had to worry about the possibility of a crossing pass & therefore the attacking team "gained an advantage by being in an offside position", in which case the teammate was "offside". In this case, the Referee's decision might depend on whether he felt the Goalkeeper was influenced by the player in the offside position. Obviously, it is a very subjective decision.

The penalty for Offside is that an Indirect Free Kick is awarded to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the offside occurred.

I suggest this: don't argue with the referee over these calls. It's a very tough call and it's easy to miss these calls. (Even the best Linesmen in the world miss these calls). I suggest teaching your attackers to stay 2 steps behind the "Last Defender" and, if they don't have the ball but are running with a teammate who has the ball, to stay 3 steps behind the ball so they are less likely to be called offside. (The linesman's sight angle can sometimes make an attacker look like he's in an offside position when he's actually even with the Last Defender or with the ball).

Special Cases Where Offside Is Not Called: A player is not offside if he receives the ball directly from a goal kick, throw-in or corner kick, even if he is in an offside position; however, once touched, the offside rule starts and if it is then played to a player in an "offside position", offside may be called. (Note that the offside rule does apply on "free kicks"). A player is also not offside if he passes the ball backward, even if doing so leaves him in an "offside position". However, if he is in an offside position and the ball is played returned to him by a teammate (e.g., a wall pass), then he can be called offside. Soccer Offside Rule (Detailed)

Offside Trap - When defenders (often a "flat defense") intentionally move forward to try to "trap" an attacker who doesn't have the ball in an offside position. Don't try to teach this to youth teams; it is too complex. However, you can teach your team to stay 12-18 steps away from your goal when the other team has a Free Kick, which is a similar concept and will keep the attackers from scoring on headers or rebounds off the Free Kick. (Defenders must stay 10 yards from the ball on free kicks, so this will only work if the kick is from 20-30 yards out). Remember, the Offside Rule is in effect on Free Kicks. (See "Flat Defense" and "Offside Rule, Detailed"). Soccer Offside Trap

OMF - Abbreviation for Offensive Midfielder. (See "Midfielders" & "Formations"). Soccer Offensive Midfielder

On His Line - Refers to the goalkeeper staying between the goal posts, as opposed to being "off his line". (See "Off His Line"). Soccer On His Line

Onball - (aka "Onball Attacker" & "First Attacker"). Refers to the player with the ball, such as the "onball attacker". (See "First Attacker", "Second Attacker", "Third Attacker", "Off-The-Ball" & "Creating Space"). Soccer Onball

Onball Attacking - A style of play which relies on the ballhandler to create opportunities by dribbling to get open or dribbling to pull defenders away from receivers who the ballhandler then tries to pass the ball to. (See "Creating Space" & "Movement Off-The-Ball"). Soccer Onball Attacking

One Touch * (Key Concept) - (aka "First-Time Ball"). When the ball is passed back without stopping it so it is touched only once it is called a one touch pass. If it is shot on the first touch, it is called a one touch shot. (See "Two Touch").

I think "one-touch play" should be taught as soon as possible because it is a way of thinking about how to receive a pass and it is a much superior way to play as opposed to stopping the ball at feet. It helps teach the use of Open Space and allows players to play faster. "One-touch play" allows a much more creative and faster attack because opponents have less time to react. At high levels of play, fast play is required. Why would you want to teach your players an inferior way to receive a pass and then later try to get them to change? It is easier to teach them the best way to play the first time. To teach the concept of "one-touch play", I don't mean to start with one-touch passing or one-touch shots. An easy way to teach the concept of one-touch play is to teach kids that when they receive a pass they can move faster by one-touching the ball into open space either away from a defender or in the direction they are moving so they can accelerate faster. A good way to teach this is by playing the Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race Practice Game. The game instructions explain how it is a very effective way to teach the concept of "one-touch" because the receivers who one-touch the pass they receive into Open Space in front of them and run onto the ball will probably win (because they are able to play faster) and those who stop the ball at their feet will probably lose, so the Game makes it obvious to the players why one-touch play is better and players will want to learn how to one-touch the ball so they can have a chance to win the game. It is a self-teaching game that works well with a "Guided Discovery" method of coaching (how to use a Guided Discovery approach is also explained in the Premium instructions for the Practice Game).

Every "one touch" shot or pass occurs on the "first touch", so if a player wants to be good at one-touch, he or she should try to develop a good "first touch". However, a good first touch doesn't mean everything has to be one touch - it just means that the player has good control on the first touch (a player, might, for example, block a pass into open space away from an opponent and then pass or shoot on the second touch, or might retain possession and dribble or pass the ball).

The Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race Practice Game can teach "first touch" and "one touch" because the players who can "first touch" and "one touch" will win that game and those who don't will usually lose. The coach can easily teach first touch and one touch by using that game - just demonstrate and give the players "tips" after each game about how they can win, and explain why the winners won the game. The Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race Practice Game is played at Game Speed and under pressure, so players will learn to play fast and under pressure. Soccer One Touch

Open Space - (aka Space). Any part of the field where there isn't a defender, but especially in the area you are attacking (i.e., the area between the ball & the goal). Receivers should be watching for passes to "open space" & passes to open space should be made so the attacker has a better chance of winning the ball than the defender. (See "Pass To Space", "Creating Space", "Through Ball", "Leading Pass" & "Spread The Field"). Soccer Open Space

Outside-Of-Foot * - The outside-of-the-foot can be used to pass, shoot, turn, reverse, dribble & control the ball. It is very important to encourage its use. (See "Flick Pass", "Hook Turn", & Outside- & Top-of-Foot Practice Games). Soccer Outside-Of-Foot

Outswinger - See "Banana Kick". Soccer Outswinger

Overarm Throw - One of the ways a goalkeeper distributes the ball. The arm stays straight & power is from the shoulder. The throw is overarm (aka a "bowling" throw, as it is called in the game of Cricket) and not sidearm, to avoid sidespin. Not for very young players because their hand is too small to hold the ball & they often don't have shoulder strength. Even a "baseball throw" (aka "javelin throw") is difficult for young children. (See "Distribute", and "Goalkeeper"). Soccer Overarm Throw

Over Coaching - Over Coaching means controlling or trying to "program" a team to the point that they have no creativity & can't think for themselves. (Soccer is different from American Football in that the game is more continuous & players must make many decisions. It is more like basketball, except you can't call time outs).
Over Coaching has been criticized, and rightly so. Some of these critics argue that "The Game Is The Best Teacher". There is some truth to this, but my experience is that the best approach is for the coach to teach technique and basic terms & concepts but also to incorporate small sided play, practice games that teach technique or tactics, or "situational scrimmages" (like the "Corner Kick Simulation" Practice Game on SoccerHelp Premium). One role for a soccer coach is to show the right way, to teach basic terms & concepts, and to teach players the "rules" to guide their decision-making (see "Coaching Rules") & then let them play. I can't imagine a child who wouldn't benefit from being taught proper technique and basic soccer terms, concepts & rules. "Over Coaching" is bad, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't teach kids how to play. Thinking of yourself as a teacher & not as a coach may help you avoid the tendency to over coach. (See "The Game Is The Best Teacher" & "Small Sided"). Soccer Over Coaching

Over The Top - "Over The Top" has 2 meanings:

1. It is most commonly used to mean a long lofted ball that is kicked deep by defenders toward the other team's goal. This is a "direct" attacking style of play (sometimes called a "long ball" style) where the objective is to get the ball away from your goal onto the other team's half of the field in hopes of gaining "territory" by winning the ball and creating a scoring opportunity. It is the opposite of a controlled, indirect, posssession type of play that relies on many short passes. (See "Long-Ball Game", "Direct Attack", "Attacking" & "Counterattack").

2. (aka Over The Ball). This phrase also refers to a dangerous tackle where a tackler's foot goes over the top of the ball & often cleats the ballhandler in the shin. A variation is when the defender raises his foot above the ball so that if the attacker kicks the ball he will be cleated. This is called "going over the ball". Soccer Over The Top

Overcommitting - Is when a defender rushes the ball or jumps into the air so that the ballhandler is able to get past him. It is better to stay on the ground, slow down the attack, wait for an opportunity & try to force the ballhandler to go toward the side line instead of to the center. Soccer Overcommitting

Overlap &
Overlapping Run
- When one player moves out of position & past a teammate he "overlaps". Overlapping can be good or bad. For example, it could be good if a MF makes an "overlapping run" past a forward who has the ball (i.e., who is "onball") because the MF could either become a receiver or distract a defender. But it is usually bad if your defenders "overlap" very much because it means someone is out of position & you don't have coverage, depth or support. Soccer Overlap & Overlapping Run

Overload - Refers to having more players in a portion of the field than are normal. For example, you might overload the left side of the Penalty Box when you attack by shifting right side players over to the left side. This might yield a numerical advantage or if defenders are man-marking it might pull them out of position. Soccer Overload

Own Goal - The term used for a goal accidentally scored by a team in its "own goal". Except in a few very unlikely cases, it counts as a goal for the other team, just as if they had scored it. Soccer Own Goal

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