Published on December 30th, 2012 | by admin0
Central Defender – Learn how to play “Stopper”
There may be no position more important to a team than that of the central defender. Central defenders play a massive role in preventing the opposing team from breaking through the defence and scoring a goal. It is the role of a central defender to remain organized and in proper position in order to ensure holes in the defence do not appear. It is a position that requires tactical smarts as well as strong leadership skills. Unless a team is using a sweeper, the central defender is the last line of defence ahead of the keeper and it is for this reason that the position is such a crucial one.
What is the coach looking for in a Central Defender
Central defenders tend to be bigger players who are tough and can out muscle the more finesse-like strikers. However, this is not always the case as some of the greatest central defenders of all time were smaller players such as Fabio Cannavaro. A central defender must be able to get up in the air and clear balls with their head as many crosses/lobs will come into the box from wingers. Even the smaller central defenders must be strong in the air and have the ability to jump quite high. However, even though central defenders tend to be bigger players, they must also be quite fast to keep up with opposing attackers and strikers. The last thing that any team wants is a central defender who can just be outrun by an attacking player with the ball. Central defenders must be smart tacklers who have the ability to read a player’s moves. They should know when to go down to ground with a slide tackle and when to stay on their feet to stick with the striker. If a player goes to ground and does not get the ball, the opposing attacker will have a golden opportunity on net.
Passing and ball control are vital skills that all central defenders must possess. As a central defender, a wayward or misplaces pass could lead to the opposition being alone on the goalie. It is essential that a central defender has the ability to seek out open players and ensure that they do not give away the ball. Many teams have lost important matches because of a defensive slip up that an opposing team was able to capitalize on. If a midfielder or striker makes a bad pass there is usually a teammate to bail him out, this is not always the case with a central defender.
Working out in the weight room away from team training is a great idea for any person playing in a central defensive role. They should be strong enough to win important scrambles in the box and not be afraid of blocking shots. Strikers will be firing shots from all angles and a central defender should be capable of getting in front of as many of them as possible. The biggest mistake a central defender can make is having their arms out away from their body. If an attacker fires a shot and it hits the defender’s hand, it may result in a penalty shot if the hand is away from the player’s body. It is crucial for any central defender when blocking a shot to have their hands on their side of their body or behind their back. Too often defenders jump in their air with their hands waving and accidently hit the ball with their hand. This is little mistake can cost a team a game and it is important to always be aware of where your hands are and body positioning.