Man to man defending corners tactic

Zonal marking is one way of defending corners, but another soccer tactic to coach is man-to-man, which involves your defenders selecting an attacking player and following them closely.

Defenders must each pick an opponent according to their size and heading ability, and be in a position to see both the player and the ball. Defenders should also be goalside of their opponent.

Key soccer coaching tip: You may still want to leave players protecting the post and upfield to counter-attack.

A bit of both tactic

Combining zonal marking with man-to-man allows key areas to be covered while marking man-to-man the opposition’s most dangerous attackers with your biggest, best headers.

There are pros and cons for each one of the three corner defending tactics we’ve covered, but whichever one you choose – KEEP IT SIMPLE!

Don’t forget the four “gets”

  • Get back – Quickly bring plenty of players back to positions in and around the penalty area to outnumber or at least equal the opposition.
  • Get it together – As the game’s stopped players can lose concentration, but they mustn’t. Now’s the time to get organized. Appoint a leader – your goalkeeper, best header, or best talker – and let them prepare the team to avert danger.
  • Get there first – Players should be brave and also determined to beat their opponent to the ball. Get them to clear the ball as far, high and wide as possible to allow themselves time to move out as quickly and, if necessary, catch the other team offside.
  • Get in the way – If defenders can’t reach the ball first, they should stop attackers from keeping the ball in front of the goal and shooting. Win the ‘second’ ball!

Soccer drill to work on these skills

  • Begin with no opposition apart from the corner taker.
  • Take corners from both sides of the pitch.
  • Vary distance, height, speed of the delivery.
  • Add opposition.
  • Try zone and man-to man marking plus a mix of the two.

Key soccer coaching tip: Be careful to prevent players from getting bored or cold, so don’t practise these soccer drills for too long.

Corner defending soccer tips using zonal and man to man tactics

Click here to order a copy of Perfect Defending, a manual with a series of easy-to-coach soccer drills for defenders.

Click here for more soccer coaching tips and drills to get your players defending corners.


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