It’s natural and common to be drawn to the excitement of a great goal or a magical mazy dribble by a Messi, Ronaldo, Salah, Aguero and Co. What tends to pass, in a more unnoticed way, is the great art of defending. So how important is a great defender to a team?
Liverpool for two seasons were unstoppable, winning the Champions League and Premier League: playing with a speed and intensity that over-ran opponents. Their Central defender Virgil Van Dijk was voted the best defender and in the top 3 players in the world, alongside Messi and Ronaldo, no less.
Then what Coach's dread, happens. Van Dijk is injured and ruled out for the long season ahead. Liverpool’s results gradually stumble. That impenetrable wall of superiority has subsided; they slide down the table.
There is such a fine line at the top of elite sport between winning and losing and having an edge on your opponent. Remove the world’s best defender and you lose not only the defensive aspect but also the confidence of the base that attacks are sprung from. Such is the importance of a great defender.
In this terrific collection of defensive highlights on youtube Virgil Van Dijk - When Defending Becomes an Art! We get to see a range of techniques notably:
· Use of Strength - At 6ft 4 (1.93m) Van Dijk uses his strength and power to position his body between the ball and the attacker. He’ll step across the attacker; use his arm as a barrier in an intimidating show of strength.
· Use of Positioning - You can see how he’ll weigh up a situation and angle his body to force the attacker to go in one particular direction and then close the gap quickly. When he is sure of the tackle he commits.
· Speed - Van Dijk can match the quickest attacking players out there. Importantly watch out for his burst from slow to full pace ability.
· Slide tackle - Watch how he runs alongside the attacker and get slightly ahead before launching into the tackle.
· Get your foot in - inside of the foot, outside of the foot, it doesn’t matter. it’s just about knocking that ball away or getting the block in as soon as you see the opportunity.
· Composed aggressive determination - Watch the focus and his will to get the job done.
The use of video with a Coach review is fantastic in honing skill and performance.
In our One2Pro online coaching app, defensive 'techniques are broken down step by step for our players to follow and practice. Download to view all skills for just $9.99 (Aus) or subscribe and work with your One2Pro Coach on all 92 skills. FREE TRIAL now available.
Be The One!