How to Avoid the #1 Sin in 1v1 Soccer Defending and Not Get Beat

Go watch a youth game and you’d swear it’s World War IIIIIIII happening cause every 1v1 soccer defending scenario is a blood bath…

Parents yelling, coaching screaming, kids kicking (literally kicking other players or the ball) and just mayhem happening.  You have better chances of seeing a pink unicorn over seeing someone with composure on the ball in that kind of environment.

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And as such, the obvious result of such mayhem, is you see kids (seemingly hyped up on red bull or something) flying in on whoever has the ball.

I mean, go watch adults play soccer and most players STILL make this deadly mistake in soccer/fuchibol even though they should know better right?

One of the issues people face when playing soccer is they lose composure.

They panic.

They think they gotta go all out and defend their guts out.  Nothing wrong inherently with this view.  I mean it’s good to go all out.  The key though is being smart about it.  I believe “controlled aggression” is the word.

But pay attention cause you’ll be able to glean some nuggets out of the wisdom about to hit you.

I’ll show you some “theory” that will make 1v1 soccer defending waaay easier for ye and ye kid.  And let’s be clear, 1v1 scenarios like I’ve talked about before are the key to success on the soccer field (or one HUGE one at least).

So, first off we must define the big sin first and then from there, in about one sentence I’ll tell you how to easily fix it.

And then I’ll elaborate on how a simple shift in mindset makes 1v1 soccer defending way easier.

Ok, so with that mumble jumbo out of the way… what is the deadly sin?

It’s this (hint: I already kind of alluded to it above): It’s the fact that most (no number cause of course nobody knows exact numero) players jump in way to easily onto whichever player has the ball.  Listen, a good player who has the ball under control (ball is on his foot and player is ready to move with it) LOVES, and I mean LOVES it when defenders jump in on them.

It basically becomes an easy “beat.”

For a good player on the ball it’s easy to beat a defender who jumps in all the time at you.

In fact that’s why a good player can go play amateur league and if they are a good dribbler they dribble right through them like Messi through butter… (or is it hot knife through butter?)


Cause the second you jump in you’re committed.  You have one option – win the ball…

If ya don’t?  It’s a clean beat for the defender.

You’ll be eating his dust.

Furthermore, when you commit you are going forward (opposite direction of attacker) while he is coming at you.  So your momentum is taking you into attacker who then simply has to swipe ball to side, dangle his shoulder one way, etc… and then fly by you.

When you jump in you got one chance – you read where he’s going correctly or your toast.

I repeat; it’s extremely easy to beat someone who jumps in when you have control of the ball if you’re half decent with it.  Heck, even someone who isn’t decent on the ball can beat a defender who always jumps in.

So, if you’re a defender who jumps in every chance you get in 1v1 soccer defending scenarios, you’re a bad defender straight up…

Sorry, just is da truth.

Now, I explained why it’s easy to beat someone jumping in always but I want you to understand this theory:

If someone was dribbling at you with the ball and you simply decided: “Under no circumstance can I let them by me,” what would you do?”

How would you stop them from dribbling past your body?

They are dribbling at you, and your only mandate is don’t let their body (with ball) get by your body?

What. Would. You. Do.?

You would (or should) do this: simply jockey backwards.  OR in layman terms: simply run backwards as fast as you can, or better yet – run with overlapping feet sideways/backwards (proper technique).

You see what I’m saying right now?

I’m saying if someone was running AT YOU with a ball at their feet, and you’re job was to NOT let them by you, you could simply run opposite direction and they would theoretically never get past you…


Heck, it would be ever hard for a pro to run past you with a ball if you were half fast because they are after all dribbling with a ball at their feet.

“Ok Joey we get it… what are you REALLY trying to say?”

Basically I just want you to understand that you can actually make it really hard to get beat if you understand it’s REALLY hard to beat someone who jockeys well and is patient.

So, the secret therein lies in changing your mindset.

Instead of thinking: “I must win the ball back from this attacker,” (surprising how most people think like this), you’re simply saying: “my job is to NOT get beat.”

See the difference?

Proper coaching and 1v1 soccer defending should have this in mind anyways.

Defenders who always just try to win the ball are reckless anyways (and get beat more often).

Your job?

Not get beat…

Here’s the simple way for you to understand it:

“ONLY jump in when you know you’re going to get the ball (or foot on the ball).”  See the difference?

This way you train yourself to think: “Ok, defender just made a bad touch so now I can jump in.” OR

“His back is turned to me so now I can jump in.” VS.

“I’m defending him and he has ball so I’m going to jump in no matter what…”

Learn to jockey, be patient, NOT just jump in any second and instead jump in when the moment is right, and you’ll become (or your kid) a defender who’s 10X better…

It might quite simply be the difference between people considering you a good defender and a bad defender.

Only jump in when you “know” you got a great chance of winning the ball.  Otherwise?

Wait for the correct moment or be patient and jockey until help comes.

Unless of course you’re in a spot where the golden rule applies.  Oh, what is the golden rule?

A lesson for another time my amigo…

For now just learn to never “just” jump in.  Instead learn to be patient and wait for the right moment to.  In fact, lots of time you don’t even need to jump in.

You simply wait until they pass it backwards (good job on your part) or until they make a bad touch.  If you just stay in front of the defender and keep them at bay most of the time you’ve done your job.  And in the process you’re a way better defender.

No more deadly sins in 1v1 soccer defending.


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