Swoosh Defense! Can Young Gamers Find out the Flat Again Four Zone Defense?

I was lately requested, “Mentor Hardy, why are you coaching youth soccer groups
to play a flat back 4 zone protection?” The notion staying that a sweeper/
stopper method is a ‘safer’ protection for younger teams. First of all, any defense
will have its strengths and weaknesses. A educated coach will know those people
weaknesses and will inspire their team to split it down. All disclaimers
aside, the flat back again four is the most well-liked process of most fashionable groups. A
youth soccer mentor ought to emphasize the enhancement of players within the
context of modern soccer.

When adequately executed, a flat back 4 will deliver great
defensive strain, address and balance. Younger soccer players must be
created to enjoy at their greatest prospective stage and just about all greater stage
teams engage in a flat four or a few process. Coaching a flat again 4 defense presents
players a basis for future accomplishment in soccer. Even a team as youthful as U11
crew can properly enjoy a flat back again 4 zone defense. A group may possibly give up
‘break-away’ aims in the quick time period, even though they master the method, but in the
lengthy run they will have the capability to confidently move into a fashionable defensive

A group can properly perform a flat back four right after just a few coaching
periods and a handful of online games. I use the pre-time procedures, tournaments
and scrimmages as a time for a staff to discover the participant roles and staff shape
of a flat again four zone defense.

To assist gamers visually realize the crew condition of the defense I
connect with it the ‘Swoosh’ defense. As the again four defenders shift remaining and correct
across the area, the shape of the defense unit seems to be like the Nike “Swoosh”
brand. If the players drift out of form I can just say “Swoosh” and right away
the gamers know where to posture themselves. As the gamers come to feel comfy
with the procedure they will remind each other to “Swoosh”. In this article are 4 basic
strategies to be knowledgeable of when coaching the Swoosh defense.

1. Swoosh Defense

The again 4 defensive form will stop the other team from possessing
‘break absent chances’ by generating sure the significantly-side outdoors defender and the
far-facet central defender change and go over diagonally powering the pressuring
in the vicinity of-facet defenders. It appears complicated but it really is essentially really straightforward. The
defenders change diagonally to the placement of the ball.

With this proper positioning the ‘Swoosh’ protection is denying ball
penetration, the dangerous attacking gamers are marked and the covering
defenders will ‘sweep’ any ball that will get played as a result of. If the ball is switched
to the much side of the subject, the defending 4 gamers will shift the ‘Swoosh’
appropriately. I have located that youthful gamers can quickly keep in mind to ‘Swoosh!’
far more that ‘Pressure, Deal with, Balance’.

It is vital for gamers to remember that the diagonal cover form
is why the crew will not have to have a sweeper. The most typical defensive oversight
is for the workforce to stand totally ‘flat’. This is specifically frequent at the half-area
line when the group with the ball has been preserving possession in the
opponent’s half of the discipline. Which clarifies why teams that are studying the
Swoosh defense will generally give up their objectives from half-subject breakaways.

If the defenders stand flat at fifty percent area then any ball played guiding the
defense will result in a breakaway race with no anybody to stop a objective but the

2. Marking A Person In Your Zone

In addition to the Swoosh form, the 4 defenders have to have to turn into
conscious of the attacking participant in their area of duty. Youthful gamers
generally emphasis all of their awareness on the ball. This poor routine is named ‘ball
watching’. Young players will typically ball observe right up until the ball will come around them
and only then will they attempt and get it. But having the ball is only part of the position
of defending. The Swoosh protection necessitates that players be in a great defensive
posture whilst marking the opponent ‘goal-aspect and ball-side’.

When defenders ‘ball-watch’, opponents will transfer into unmarked
positions. The basic rule for defenders is to mark the most harmful participant in
your zone and stay ball-aspect and target-side of them.

The break-aways in opposition to the Swoosh defense generally come about when a
defender is “caught flat ” and will not respond to the open opponent in their zone
until eventually it is really much too late. If a defenders waits till right after the go is played ahead to
go in direction of the mark in their zone then there is usually a foot race to the aim.
90{4794e2a5af98421425d757e3e406e9ebc22e0d7579733cf825e9c79e4a650b20} of very good protection is positioning away from the ball.

(Take note: Another explanation I use the “Swoosh” expression is to since young players will
typically remain “flat” if the protection is identified as a “flat back again four”.)

Ball observing
is rather regular behavior for younger soccer gamers, however, a defender is a
incredibly vital place and that player have to be alert and experienced enough to
not ball check out. Finding out to mark accurately is a ability that will appear with
dedication to mastering.

3. Line Of Restraint And Compactness Throughout Transition

The essential principle of superior defending is to create ‘compactness’. I
really encourage the defense to make compactness when we changeover to offense or
when the opponent passes the ball backwards. We do this because (a)
compacting the space that the other workforce has to function with produces stress
and (b) we can catch them off-sides. I do not encourage a refined off-
sides lure below U14, but relocating up the field to generate compactness will catch
unaware forwards off-sides.

If we are sluggish in our personal transition to offense (for example, just after we
just cleared the ball from the defensive 3rd) and our defenders just keep deep
in our own 50 {4794e2a5af98421425d757e3e406e9ebc22e0d7579733cf825e9c79e4a650b20} then we are providing the other group plenty of area to move the ball
again towards our intention. The common rule I mentor is if the ball goes up the field 5
yards then we transfer the protection up 5 yards – 20 yards up the discipline usually means we
shift 20 yards up the discipline. This is true until eventually we cross fifty percent subject. At 50 {4794e2a5af98421425d757e3e406e9ebc22e0d7579733cf825e9c79e4a650b20} area,
the back four move a several yards into the opponents fifty percent of the subject.

If our defense stays back again in our possess fifty percent of the area then there is considerably less
stress and with much less force the other team will commit the recreation in our half.
I think it is a greater idea to try and defend the fifty percent line than your intention.

The key to properly compacting the area is that all of the
defenders need to go up jointly. If just a person defender stays back then the
other workforce will exploit that. The line of defenders shifting up the subject is referred to as
our ‘Line of Restraint’. Our purpose is to have our ‘Line of Restraint’ no extra than
35 yards from our forwards till our defenders achieve the fifty percent line.

Once again, a secondary reward of compacting the place throughout transition is
that the other team is normally off-sides simply because their forwards are caught
standing around after the ball has been cleared.

4. Off-Sides And Referees

A widespread problem when actively playing the Swoosh protection is that referees
can make mistakes with the off0sides call and the other crew will have effortless
split-aways. As significantly as the referees lacking offsides phone calls, perfectly, that’s the
mother nature of the match. The important is to manage the controllables. As coaches, we
are not able to manage the referee’s selections but we can regulate the team’s capability to
have superior positioning and marking. Moreover, if a crew plays good protection
and scores aims then they will not be in a place that will enable the referee to
determine the final result of the match.

In summary, if we coach to have defenders compact in transition, get
in our suitable ‘Swoosh’ form, and mark their opponent target-side and ball-
side, then I am confident that the flat back again four zone protection can be successful
even with younger teams.

Now that my recent U11 team is comfortable with the
Swoosh defense, we have moved on to the position of the attacking outside
defender and their capability to go forward to be part of the attack.