Tight marking | Soccer Coach Weekly

If your team can master the art of close marking, it can make the opposition’s task of scoring goals extremely tricky and that means your players will have a better chance of winning matches.

What this session is about

Guarding an opponent so it is difficult for them to receive the ball or play an easy pass to a team mate.

What to think about

  • Stay within touching distance of your opponent.
  • Stay “goal side” (nearest to the goal you are defending).
  • Keep the ball and receiver in view by adopting a side-on body position, and not standing directly behind the player you are marking.
  • Be ready to intercept the ball but don’t commit unless you are sure.
  • If the opponent receives the ball your job is to delay the attacker, rather than make a tackle.

Set-up

Use an area 20 yards long by 10 yards wide for the session.

For the development, use an area 35 yards long by 25 yards wide. Add cones goals, four yards wide, at each end of the same-size area for the game situation.

Warm up Session Developments Game Situation Warm Down
10 minutes 15 minutes 15 minutes 15 minutes 5 minutes

What you get your players to do

Play 1v1 with a server/target player at either end of the playing area. A server passes to one of the players, who tries to turn and pass the ball to the target player at the opposite end.

The process is then reversed. Players are rotated so all practise marking.

Develop by making it a 2v2 in an area 25 yards long by 15 yards wide with two servers at each end.

A server/target player passes to a player in a 1v1, the defender applies pressure to stop him turning and passing to the opposite end.

A server/target player passes to a player in a 1v1, the defender applies pressure to stop him turning and passing to the opposite end.


Development

Play a 4v4 game as in the middle picture. Each player in the defending team marks an opposition attacker, who in turn marks them when possession is lost.

Teams score by dribbling the ball across the opponent’s end line.

In a 4v4, each team tries to prevent the other from dribbling the ball across their end line.

In a 4v4, each team tries to prevent the other from dribbling the ball across their end line.


Game situation

Play a five-a-side game in the same area as the development section but use a goalkeeper in each team who guards a four-yard wide cone goal.

Teams score by shooting through these goals.

To develop, set up an extra goal at each end – this means defenders and goalkeepers will have to work harder to cover the extra goal.

Each team tries to prevent goals being scored by applying tight marking.

Each team tries to prevent goals being scored by applying tight marking.


What to call out

Tony Carr

About Tony Carr

Tony Carr is one of the most influential figures in English football. The former West Ham Academy director has brought through – from the youth team to the first team – players like Glen Johnson, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole and Jermain Defoe.

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