2nd Defender - Cover
Key coaching points are:
Key coaching points are:
- Cover player must sprint into position with a looping run to the outside of the direction in which the Pressure player is steering the attacker, and then shout "Cover" very loudly once in place, but not before.
- Appropriate cover must be a distance of about 6-8 feet.
- The outside of the Covering player's shoulder should be aligned with the inside of the shoulder of the Pressure player so that the attacker sees a wall of two players in his way. Basically, the two defenders are trying to create a funnel that locks the attacker at the touch-line.
- Cover player's stance will be slightly more square, as he must be prepared to leap quickly to outside side if the attacker tries to spin around the outside of the Pressure player.
- It is the Pressure player's job to watch the ball and the Cover player's job to watch the attacker and to give directions to the Pressure player.
- Speed of movement
- Sprint! Be moving a split second after the ball is lost!
- Angle of run
- Run on a curved line that will bring you within a few strides goal-side of your pressure man and then close down on a goal-side line to the ball.
- How close to get
- Close enough to help choke off dangerous passing lanes on your side of the ball. Close enough for the challenger to hear and feel your support. Close enough to apply pressure immediately if the challenger is beaten.
- Why communication is so important
- Your position gives you a wider picture, so you can make better decisions. When the Pressure player knows his support is in place, he can work without seeing you, as long as he hears you. Continue giving encouragement and quick, clear, confident instructions. As a general rule of thumb, say nothing unless you are in position to back it up! Your teammate doesn't just need support; he needs to KNOW that he has it. If he tackles and is beaten and you're not in position to cover, you're both beaten and out of the game until you can recover from behind the ball. Let the Pressure player know when he is Covered. Announce your arrival loud and clear!
- Giving directions
- One of the most common directions that the Cover player will give is "Take him wide" or "Line, line". This instruction means that the Pressure player is being instructed to steer the attacker towards the nearest touch-line. He does this by showing him more space to the outside. The Cover player will be goal-side of the ball, and also goal-side of the Pressure player, so that he can quickly move to provide Pressure if the attacker manages to cut inside of the Pressure player. He is dropped down about 2 yards, so that he also is available to close down the touch-line run if the attacker accelerates past the Pressure player.
- Another popular instruction, used mostly by older players, is "Turn him in", meaning turn him towards the center area of the field. If you see you cannot cover effectively if play goes wide, or you realize the defense is being stretched across the field, tell the challenger to show the inside path where cover can more easily be provided and the defense can retain depth and compactness. Take position a few strides closer to goal than the challenger, inside him in the direction you want play to go.
- When to encourage the steal
- As soon as you have steered the attacker within about 1-2 feet of the touch-line, it is time to consider a counter-attack. In addition, if the attacker appears to be losing courage and is considering turning his back on your group, it is time to shout "Go in!" or "Close" or "Take him". When your Pressure player is on the counterattack, the Cover player must stay balanced, alert, and ready to close down and pressurize if the tackle fails.
- What if the opponent succeeds in making a pass
- If the ball carrier manages to make a pass, your response will depend on whether the pass is forward, square or back. With the changed situation, you must decide whether your job is now to pressure, support, track down, mark, or destroy opponent's support.
- The decision to provide support is made too late.
- Player doesn't work hard enough to achieve effective covering position and supports from too far away - which is no support at all.
- Supporting player doesn't tell the challenger he is in position, or tells him that he is covered while still too far away.
- Supporting player doesn't encourage the challenge.
- Supporting player doesn't maintain concentration and fails to react quickly to the play.