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How to mark against speedy forwards

I have a ladies team with slow defenders who insist on playing 5-10 yards (sometimes more) off of their attacker. They do this as they say they are much slower and therefore need the space to catch up to them and as a 'buffer'. This is an argument I have heard used by a lot of slower players.I however have been arguing that they'd have more success if they marked closer and tried to prevent them from turning and gathering speed/or being within range to make the interception in the first place. They may get beaten on occasion if the player has the wherewithal to turn with skill and beat their marker, but I feel for a lot of players, the mere pressure of having a defender in close proximity may discourage them from attempting to turn and force them to play the ball backwards.My argument is that if you give a player with speed 10 yards to build up speed against you then it will be harder to stop them/catch them, especially in a wide space. The way I think about it is, if two cars are in a race, but the first one is allowed to get up to 30 mph before the start line AND is the faster vehicle, it's a no-brainer as to who will win. I'm interested to see what everyone else thinks - am I thinking about this incorrectly or does my thinking make sense?

Hi Luke,

Your philosophy of touch tight marking is certainly one I'd agree with. Your goal as coach is to prove why you are correct. Try this drill below out and let me know your thoughts. 


Touch Tight Post Up


- 1 attacker and 1 defender line up on 23 metre line
- 1 player on half way line feeding
- Feeder hits the ball in to a posting attacker
- Defender is to track the attacker, remaining as close as possible throughout
- Defender should attempt to win the ball or chanel attacker to the sideline
- Forward simply has to try and cross the 

Coaching Points:

- Defender should put as much pressure on the defender during the post up so that the pick up is affected
- If the ball is received, defender should remain tight, attempting to force the attacker to pass the ball backwards
- Main goal is to prevent the forward from turning to face the goal

Hi Luke yes, they are not in the game if they are 5-10 off their opponent. The question is not speed but time. You wont be able to increase speed in a couple of weeks (maybe a few months).

We have a philosophy in Aus: iFit = Infront - Intouch. 

So I assume by your statement that your Girls are 10 m behind, hence they are not in the game. If they aim to be infront at least they may be able to intercept some passes. In touch is your next objective. With an infront approach this should increase their work rate. 

In regards to time, if you give your opponent enough time they will find the right passes or plays to get around you hence 5-10 you are not in the game. Get in front and put pressure on the passes and force turn overs. This is the most basic strategy to turn your game around. Good luck

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  • create your own professional coaching plans
  • or access our tried and tested plans