How to beat a big defender.


Written by Allan

It can be daunting when you step onto the pitch and realise that you’re playing against The Land of the Giants FC. We’ve all been there, and it can make you think twice about your game plan as an attacking player. If you’ve been following my blogs closely, you’ll have noticed me talk about the importance of the mental edge in games, and how it gives you an advantage.

If you’re one of those people that seem to lose confidence when playing against bigger and stronger opposition players, keep reading as we give you 5 tips to help switch the advantage back in your favour and help you get the better of the opposition defenders. The bible story tells us that David beat Goliath - and with a few tips, you can too. Enjoy!

Tip 1 - Panna, panna, panna

Tall defender = long legs. Longer legs = slower to react. Use this to your advantage and go for the early panna. Not only does this embarrass him into keeping his legs closed next time, but it also provides you with the mental advantage next time you get him in a 1-1 situation. Use sideways movements like the sole roll to help set up the perfect opportunities to strike.

Tip 2 - Sprint

This one relies on you having some space behind the defensive line to run into. If they are stupid enough to play a high line, you should ask your teammates to play a through ball. Giving yourself an opportunity to leave the defender in the dust will give you another mental advantage and maybe make them think again about their game plan.

Tip 3 - Runaround

Gareth Bale has pretty much built his career on this move. It does however help that he’s officially the fastest footballer on the planet. Pass the ball to one side of the defender and then run around him to collect it. Simple. Elegant. Embarrassing. Just watch out for the body check!

Tip 4 - Blindside

This focuses more on your intelligent positional play, than on the defenders weaknesses. If the defender can’t see you and the ball at the same time, they need to keep looking around to find you. Keep moving in different directions to pull the defender from side to side - wait for the right moment to make the run and receive the ball. If you’ve done this correctly, you should buy yourself a yard or two of space, giving you time to look up and pick out a pass for your teammate or an opportunity to shoot. As JayMike says “the first move is for the defender, the second is for the ball”.

Tip 5 - Change direction

Lionel Messi is the king of this particular discipline - use your lack of height as an advantage by changing direction quickly. The taller defenders will never keep up with you, and you will eventually find yourself in a position to take the ball past him. Drop your shoulder or fake a pass to spice it up a little!

So that was 5 tips on how to beat big defenders. In the video below, you will find more information from JayMike, and you can see it in action. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog, and I hope you can use some of these tips in your next match.

Stay tuned for more ‘How-To’ blogs in the coming weeks for more awesome #Unisportlife content.