#10 Four Factors That Can Significantly Improve Your 1 vs. 1 Skills

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Do you want to improve your defensive performance in a simple and efficient manner? Do you wish to stabilise your performance, or even to perform at a higher level? You can achieve this by working more deliberately and systematically, so that you become a margin winner.


How do you know which situations are important and crucial?

During a football game, players make many choices. Experience tells us that some of the choices players make are significant, while others are not so important.

Many of the choices you make during a given game will probably not play any major role in the outcome of the game. However, in the long run, many of the choices you make do have a major impact on the performance of your team and your achievements on a personal level.

Coincidences and margins are difficult to understand.

Since you can never predict which situations will be crucial, you must prepare for all situations in a match and have the ability to take decisive action in an instant.

In the heat of the game, you need to have the ability to ask yourself:

“What can I do to give myself an advantage against my opponent and achieve the greatest degree of gain in this situation?”

To put yourself in a position to answer this problem, you need to work to some basic guidelines—Guidelines that increase awareness and help you to make better choices and improve the quality of your game both short and long term.

You must prepare for all situations in a match and have the ability to take decisive action in an instant.

What guidelines should defenders follow?

To ensure you make the right decision as quickly as possible, you need to have some basic knowledge at your fingertips.

Before I go into more detail about what your priorities should be, it’s worth splitting the player’s actions into phases so that we can understand how the defender’s involvement may change during each phase.


Preparation Phase : During this phase, the defender is preparing to duel or to try and settle the situation to their advantage before the attacker receives the ball. This phase is very important because it can mean the difference between achieving the best starting point for the next phase or finding yourself trying to recover.

Process Phase : This is the phase during which you directly engage in a duel with the attacker. The phase lasts until the defender has managed to win the ball, the attacker has passed the defender, or the attacker has played the ball to another player.

Completion Phase: During this phase, you complete your task by following up and controlling the attacker until the danger is over. If you do not concentrate sufficiently during the completion phase, you can easily fail.

The following guidelines will give you better odds of winning more duels (in order of priority):

The rest of this article includes:
  • 1. Win the ball by breaking the pass (snatch the ball)
  • 2. Tackle when the attacking player receives the ball
  • 3. Put the attacker under pressure: The pressing technique
  • 4. Attacking player challenging the defender: The defending technique

These themes, along with 10 other articles, you will find in our book:

You need to have some basic knowledge at your fingertips.

“The Ultimate Guide to Football Defence

– Unique and Fundamental Knowledge of Defence Skills”.

Click here to read more and buy the eBook!
About the Author

Anders Giske

Anders Giske is a football (soccer) coach and founder of the blog: Giske Defending - The Ultimate Learning Centre to Football Defence Skills. He is a former professional footballer with many years’ experience playing in the Bundesliga and for the Norwegian national team. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Facebook and LinkedIn