How to Beat Defenders in Soccer

The old cranky Scottish Basturd himself said it very eloquently (paraphrased roughly): “the team with the best 1on1 players will usually win the game.”

In other words – if you’re better at 1on1′s than the next dude/dudette, you’re probably a better player period.

BONUS Click Here To Download Your FREE 3 Move Drill Combo I use To Get My Students Quickly Beating Defenders in This “Secret” Situation Most Players Neglect…

Get what I’m saying?

Think bout it: if you can’t hold your own in 1on1 situations (that happen non-stop) on the field than you’re toast.

So, how to beat defenders in soccer is a KEY thing we must know

And to clarify, I ain’t talking just the style of 1v1 everyone’s thinking about.  You know, the glitz and glamour one where you imagine an attacker dribbling straight at the defender and then getting around the defender.

Yes, that is a successful 1on1, but it’s only one of a handful of situations that are deemed 1on1’s in Pepe’s book (Pepe is me in case you were wondering.)

You see, you don’t have to necessarily blow by a defender to win your 1v1.

Often it’s simply successfully keeping the ball so you can then pass it off.

Sometimes it’s beating a defender who’s to your side…Behind you…Or at an angle.

Sometimes it’s simply doing a little shimmy fake one way so you can drag ball the other way and thus create space for a shot or pass.  Are you leaving the defender in your dust behind you?  Not necessarily… But you ARE still beating them cause you successfully did what you wanted to do.

See my point amigo?

1v1’s happen all the time.

Basically, the second a defender is near you, you’re in a 1v1 situation of some kind or form.

EVEN when you don’t have the ball.  You ALSO gotta be good at defensive 1v1’s…

Thus, if on average, you lose most of your 1v1’s, gooooooood byeeeeee….

So, without further ado-do, here’s the underlying “sauce” to beating defenders in soccer.  Learn this stuff and the soccer field will be your oyster.


Here are some secrets/tips for how to beat defenders in soccer that aren’t so basic as: “use a scissors to fake him out.”

No, these are the underlying sauces that you NEED in order to actually make those “scissors” work.  Fail to apply these things and “scissores” will never work.

Key point NUMERO UNO: 

Ever watch a point guard in the NBA?  Ever watch how they manipulate the game?

Ever watch how they look like they’re just coasting and then all of a sudden BAM!  Change of pace and they’re at the hoop laying it in for an easy layup.  That my amigo is called a change of pace…

Something FAR FAR too many people do not do in soccer.

And when you tell them to use changes of pace they automatically assume: “Oh, I must play faster!”

No no no…

It means what it means.  It means, play with changes of pace.  Not just speed up, but also slow down and then speed up again!  It puts defenders to sleep and makes you unpredictable.  Even when you don’t have the ball and you’re trying to get open.  Comprende?

Watch Messi and one of his keys is quick little bursts.  Never just the same pace.  He mixes it up like cray cray.

USE changes of pace and thank me later.

Key point NUMERO DOS:

Changes of direction.  Another key to Messi’s game who coincidentally almost never uses crazy fakes (not saying fakes are bad, just saying he dominates these things above and thus never uses the other things such as fakes).

So, incorporate changes of pace and changes of direction and I swear to you, you’ll be beating defenders WAY more often.

This are two of the secret underlying sauces that make every single move work.  Here’s the key: don’t give away your change of direction before you do it.  As in, when you’re about to cut to the right, don’t make it obvious you’re doing that.

Sounds simple right?  I mean “duh” joey…

But it’s not so simple.

Without realizing it defenders often know where we’re going.  You know how?

We give it away with our hips.  Our hips are what make people believe we’re going one direction.  People think you’re going wherever your hips are facing.  It’s that simple amigo.

But guess what?  You can also use that to your advantage.

Point those Shakira hips one way and blow by the other way.  It’s like Moses parting the Red sea (Actually God doing it but Moses being the key man), point your hips one way and the defense will sway that same direction, thus opening up space on the other side for you…

Changes of direction and changes of speed.  Use em chief!

Key point NUMERO TRES:

Here comes the one everyone knows of…

Fakes… Of course that’s what you see on TV when you watch the pro’s.  You see the “Maradona’s,” the “Scissors,” the “shimmy’s” etc etc…

But what you don’t see is the underlying ingredients that make those moves work.  The two things mentioned above are two of those key things.

But of course fakes are a big part too.

And what you need to take away from this is that the definition of fakes, is to make the defender think you’re doing one thing while you’re really doing something else.  Remember the Shakira hips above?  Hips will sub-consciously make the defender think you’re going one way while in reality you’re not.

ALSO why the fake shot is so stinking powerful.  You can’t help but flinch when someone fake shots it.

Fake shot is money in the bank. Use it.  Use the hips.  Think about how to make defenders believe you’re doing one thing, while in reality you’re doing another.

And here’s my super duper tip: Only work on a couple at a time. Nail them.  Own them.  Don’t be mediocre at 10 different things.

BE GREAT at just two.

PART 2 – 2 Other “HACKS” to beating defender consistently

Use your Booooooty.

Always.  It’s crazy.  I so often see people NOT use their bodies enough in soccer.  Guess what?  Your body is one of the secrets in soccer NOT used enough.  Whenever you have the ball or are fighting for it use your body and arms to protect yourself and that ball.  Use your body to win position.  If you’re both running for ball but you’re ahead of him/her, put your body in front so they can’t get to ball.  When shielding the ball, imagine the ball is your life, and use your body for all your worth.  And use those arms as well…

180 Degree Changes

Watch kids soccer and the second you see a kid dribbling into a crowd of defenders you know it’s game over.

You know the ball will be lost and it will be chaotic.

Why?  Cause nobody has the composure, skill or intelligence to make a quick 180 degree change of direction and get the heck out of dodge.

Instead they continue going forward.

It’s the “blinders” effect.  And guess what?

Too many adults play like that too.

Here’s the thing.  You almost always will have a defender at least to your side if your cutting across the field.

In fact, 1v1’s where the defender is to your side is the most common 1v1 scenario. So it pays that you get good at it.

So, instead of just always dribbling forward and never turning back, learn to make quick 180 degree changes of direction with the ball.

I’m serious…

Sounds so stinkin simple but people fail to do it all the time.  And the worst part is they aren’t good at them either.

Here’s a super duper simple way that works like a charm.  When you’re going one direction and a defender is to your side and you’re running into trouble and you want to shake the defender, simply do a fake shot and then immediately pull the ball under your body with the bottom of your foot.  So, do a fake shot as if you’re kicking the ball forward (same direction your going) and then instead pull it backwards.

Out of nowhere you’ll be facing the other side of field and you’ll be shocked at the space on the field…It’s like entering a whole new dimension.

The fake shot pull back works like a lucky charm.  Use it. Use the fake shot…

Trust me…180 degree changes of direction performed well are magic.  It’s so hard to lock in on a player who turns quickly and often.  Xavi did it all the time.

You gotta get good at beating defenders, I’m serious.  DO IT…


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