5 Ways to Beat Your Marker in Soccer

Work hard to beat your man and your team will succeed! - (Photo: Rickymastercoach.com)

Soccer is an incredibly competitive sport.  No matter how good you are at soccer, the outcome of a game largely depends on the skill level of your opponent.  However, throughout the course of any soccer game, you will go head to head against a marker several times, and will probably have several minor victories and defeats.  Here are 5 ways that you can ensure that you win the ball more often than your opponent:

1.  Go to the ball – Sure, this seems pretty obvious, but young soccer players often just stand there and wait for the ball to come to them.  A smart defender will easily run up to the ball and intercept it.  When you make an effort to go after the ball, whether you reach it first or not, you will make a fight of it.  Even if you aren’t the clear-cut winner in this race, your pressure may force an opponent into making an errant pass and your team could get the possession back.

2.  Use a slight push – Pushing in soccer is a tricky move, but let’s face it: players are constantly pushing and jostling each other around, especially in the penalty box during free kicks and corner kicks.  The key word here is “slight”.  A hard push that sends a player to the ground is a foul.  A slight nudge that pushes someone off course and disrupts their balance?  That is smart play.  Know the difference and how to go about constructing a physical edge to your game.

3.  Judge the path of the ball – When a ball comes soaring overhead, the player that often wins the header is the one who correctly times their jump.  This is an art.  Soccer balls can come flying in at all sorts of speeds and differing trajectories, and the only way to master the art of timing your jumps is through practice.  Therefore, work with a teammate on sending in crosses so you can get a feel for how the ball moves.  If you can learn to time your headers impeccably, you will become an asset to your soccer team.

4.  Fake one way and go the other – This is a simple move to use before crosses come in and can have wonderful results.  Many defenders focus too much on the player they are marking rather than the ball.  Therefore, if you have an idea where the ball will be in say, 3 seconds, trick your marker by heading in one direction and then switching it up and move to where the ball is actually going.  When done correctly, your marker will be confused and off-balance by the time the ball comes in, leaving yourself wide open.

5.  Want to win the ball – Don’t be shy.  Soccer is a physical sport and the players that usually do well are the ones that want it more.  You need to have a burning desire to win the ball and score goals, and that fire will help fuel your intensity as a soccer player.  In fact, don’t settle on just wanting the ball; Need it!  Make sure that you win every opportunity you have to do so and never give up.  This mental aspect of the game can be of huge importance in a major match someday…


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