When you are defending during the game never charge at the ball unless you are absolutely sure that you will get it. If the opposition has the ball in control at their feet, then you must contain them. To contain (or jockey) your opponent means to position yourself in front of him and wait until he releases the ball far enough for you to intercept it. Some dribblers will move the ball without providing you with enough time for a tackle. In these cases all you can do is remain between the ball carrier and your own goal.
There are different types of methods you can use when you are defending in soccer:
– Containing: When containing an attacker you must lower your centre of gravity by bending your knees and leaning forward. Backpedal if the attacker moves sideways. It is important to never face a dribbler straight on because they will put the ball between your legs or may simply run by you and in this case you won’t have enough time to make a complete 180 degree turn. Try to approach the ball carrier at a 45 degree angle which will then force him towards the sideline. Do not lunge at your opponent.
– The block tackle: The block tackle is the most basic way of depleting an opponent of the ball. It is designed to give you possession while keeping you on your feet. Plant your supporting foot firmly so that you don’t lose balance. Then just as your opponent contacts the ball, you must put your free foot perpendicularly to the direction in which he is moving. If you execute this properly, this will cause your opponent to stumble.
– Poke tackle: With poke tackling, you basically stab the ball away from your opponent. You must use the foot which is closer to the ball. Remember, this method does not guarantee that you will gain possession of the ball.
– Side tackle: The side tackle should not be used unless in desperation or when you are away from your own goal. It is very effective against opponents dribbling down the sideline or shielding the ball.