When you’re playing 7-A-Side football, you are meant to have fun. You have to let go of all worries and just enjoy the quick and highly engaging game of football. But it’s necessary to know the main aspects of your game. No, it isn’t all about racking up the goals, and not all your players need to focus on hitting the net. Make sure you’re not forgetting the most integral component of any football side or version;
The Defense, the backline or we’ll simply put it as, the people who’ll stop your opponents from scoring against your team. As we said, it’s the most integral component of your game and we’re writing this right now to let you know why you should devote a lot of focus and attention towards the defense of your team, no matter if you’re a coach or a player.
There is quite a beautiful thing about the defense that it’s not just the job of defenders. No matter what your tactics are or how offensive your team plays, all of your 7 players must contribute and defend in a 7-A-Side match. Here’s the tricky part, all players need to take part in defense but with extreme precision in positions by not letting the compactness of your team go away, otherwise, your opponents will create a lot of issues for your team.
We will start with diving deep into the basics of defending but before that, we implore you to take this section of today’s article in general football terms, not only to defend in a 7-A-Side football match because you might play the 11-A-Side or 9-A-Side in future and the idea of defensive excellence should remain the same in all of them, and this mindset will win you a lot of matches in future.
WHAT IS DEFENDING BASICALLY?
The answer to this question is quite a long topic but we will try to give you maximum insights of defending in a very thorough and quick manner. That being said, here are the basic things you need to keep in mind about how to defend in a 7-A-Side as a team:
- DON’T LET THEM BREAK THE WALL.
- KEEP PRESSURE AND PRESS
- BE BALANCED AND COMPACT.
- EXPLOIT THEIR WEAKNESSES AND KNOW THEIR STRENGTHS.
- BE LED BY THE LOGIC, NOT THE EMOTIONS.
Phew! That’s a lot to digest, don’t worry we will help you in the process and everything will make sense. It’s important to mention that we’re not making a deep, brief tactical and technical analysis. Instead, we’re trying to give you an idea of the basic areas of defending.
Let’s go through all 5 points we mentioned above one by one.
DON’T LET THEM BREAK THE WALL
As long as your team has possession, the opponents can’t score. First things first, never lose the possession but unfortunately, that can only happen in the fantasy world. Let’s get back to the real world, you’re playing a football match and your team has lost possession, now you need defense. The whole team should shift to the ‘defense mentality’ to contribute to your defenders. Your main goal is to not let the opposing attack get behind your defense, otherwise, you will concede. How you can achieve this? Follow along and you will know.
KEEP PRESSURE AND PRESS
Now you have lost the ball and your team needs to recover it ASAP. The very first thing your team needs to opt for, to defend in a 7-A-Side, is to keep the pressure on the opposition and don’t let their offensive play disorganize your team’s positioning. Whether you’re playing the positional football or man-marking strategies, you need to press the opposition to not let them penetrate through your defense. When your whole team will press the opposition in an organized manner, it will be difficult for the attacking team to mobilize the ball and it will be easy to regain possession for your team.
Press until it hurts!
BE BALANCED AND COMPACT
What do we mean by balance? Well, balance is one thing which every football side needs. And when it’s about defending, it’s even more important to be balanced and compact. As soon as you’ve lost the ball in your half, your first defender will try to recover it by running towards the ball holder, here comes the balance: What the other 5 outfield players should do at that time? Provide Balance. They’re going to provide positional help by occupying the zones and man-marking the opposition. And all of this needs to be done in an organized manner, this way the whole team will be able to suffocate the spaces for opposition’s attack and they won’t be able to penetrate through the lines.
EXPLOIT THEIR WEAKNESSES AND KNOW THEIR STRENGTHS
There’s a wise saying that “You keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”. That applies in soccer too, you need to know the weaknesses and strengths of your opposition and play accordingly. For Example, if the opposing team is good at creating crosses and scoring then you need to stray their attacker to the center of the pitch by pressing the ball, so they can’t make crosses. This way you’ll be able to get benefit from their weaknesses by knowing their strengths.
BE LED BY THE LOGIC, NOT THE EMOTIONS
Don’t let yourself make impulsive decisions in the heat of the moment. Too many defenders make this mistake by making harsh tackles on the opposition. Your team can’t afford to be one man down. If you’re defending then harsh tackles and pushes are meant to happen but it’s important how you react to them.
HOW TO DEFEND IN A 7-A-SIDE AGAINST A STRONG TEAM?
Now that you know the basics of defending, it’s time to get back to the 7-A-Side format. The ideas will remain the same but some important factors might change in this format of football, as it is one of the most engaging and intense types of the game.
So, things are a little bit different, you have less time, you have shorter playing area, there are fewer players on the pitch and the list goes on and you might face some better and stronger teams than yours, so how you win against superior sides? Keeping these differences in sight, how are we going to use them in our favor? How to defend in a 7-A-Side game and win? It isn’t a very complicated subject but here are the things you should keep in mind:
- First things first, opt for a defensive approach when you know the other side is dominant and technically better. You need to get it right from the beginning by assessing the state and quality of your opponents. You can use solid formations like 3-2-1 or 2-1-2-1, as they offer a lot of solid defensive composure. Again, it’s necessary to study your opponent before selecting the right defensive approach and line-up.
- Now when you have selected your line-up and it’s a defensive one, it’s time to exploit the weaknesses of your opponents, you can achieve this by both man-marking or positional play, but the core idea is to deform the shape of the opposing line-up and create spaces, and these spaces will help your counter-attack.
Depth in the team
- Remember, your defenders and defensive midfielders need to be focused and attentive all the time because, in these types of situations, the whole game is dependent on them. Otherwise, you can’t win the match. There should be excellent communication and positional awareness between your deep-lying players.
- To defend in a 7-A-Side match, these ideas will help a lot as the field’s length is almost half than the standard football ground of 11-A-Side, and while defending, you might use this to your benefit by opting for the counter-attack strategy. As there is less distance to cover, it’s easy for your offensive players to get near the opponent’s goalkeeper and create danger for them.
Football isn’t a simple sport, is it? It’s like chess, you need to deduce the right strategies at the right time to win the match. These were the basic concepts of how you can defend in a 7-A-Side match and still win it. Later, when you will move up to the bigger versions of the game, the same concepts will help you there as well. Remember, the basics remain the same, no matter how tactical and technical it gets later, don’t let the core principles slip from your grasp.
That’s a wrap, folks. Let us know about your opinions in the comments and we will catch you very soon with our next informative soccer blog. Stay tuned.