Organize! Now that's a good soccer word. It's used by soccer coaches at all levels all over the world.
Basically, it means there is rhyme and reason to how you play the game. Your soccer players know how to play with each other to achieve a common goal…win the game.
No problem with convincing coaches they need to organize offensively. Everyone wants to know about formation, systems of play, etc. Probably 75% of youth soccer practices are spent on offensive training. Sadly, the other 25% is spent on running, but that's another article.
Do you spend time teaching your youth soccer players how to organize themselves defensively? Do you teach them to understand pressure and cover? Do they have any idea what the responsibilities are for the 'third defender?"
By spending time organizing your team defensively your are not preparing your team to play "negative soccer." Actually, you are enhancing your team's ability to create scoring opportunities.
"Winning the middle of the field" is a very important tactical advantage. IF you can consistently win the ball at the middle of the field, you will keep the pressure off your defensive third of the field. You can win the ball with an organized defense that provides pressure on the opponent with the ball, cover for the space behind the pressuring player, and support by the third defender who further limits the distribution options of the ball carrier.
Too often teams do not spend enough time addressing free kicks from an offensive standpoint. That said, organizing the team to defend free kicks is often practiced even less.
There is an old soccer saying that "offense wins games, and defense wins championships," There is certainly some truth in that. But perhaps you should put the word "organized" before offense and defense in this saying.
Remember, for every goal allowed in a game, that is one more goal you have to score to get even! Coach to score goals…but organize your defense!
Editors Note: Ray Alley can be reached at: SSS2@pipeline.com