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How To Beat A Fast Defender In Soccer?

How To Beat A Fast Defender In Soccer?

We know strikers and wingers to be fast but not defenders. Players in these positions often use their speed to get behind defenders quickly and create scoring chances. However, when they meet a defender that is just as fast as them, they need to think of other techniques, fast.

Great soccer clubs usually bank on good defenders to make it difficult for dangerous strikers and attackers to score goals. A team that can properly secure its half during a match would have more freedom to channel all their effort into scoring goals.

To win games, soccer teams often employ a solid defensive strategy against their opponents—especially when playing against a superior team. Jose Mourinho is one coach that knows how to lock the backline in games where he only needs a draw to win.

Popularly called ‘parking the bus’, Mourinho is not a fan of fancy soccer displays. All he cares about is getting the result. While coaching Chelsea, he used this technique against Barcelona in their Champion’s League semi-final.

Certain soccer teams are famous for their formidably fast defenders but that doesn’t mean their defense can’t be overpowered. This is why relying on just one skill or tactic in soccer can be counterproductive.

Beating fast defenders in soccer requires a lot of experience and tactics aside from skills and dexterity. It is often said that the true test of a good striker is their ability to seamlessly beat fast defenders.

To beat fast defenders and produce effective goal-scoring opportunities, soccer players must be able to adopt several techniques. A good dribbling skill alone may not be enough to topple these fast defenders.

This article talks about some difficulties soccer players often encounter while contending against fast defenders. We also shared some great tips for beating a fast defender with ease and some attributes that will give soccer players an edge over fast defenders.

How to beat a fast defender in soccer?

If you watch soccer and pay close attention, you’ll notice that some games are won by defense rather than offense. When you play attack, you will sometimes come up against defenders who are much faster than you can ever imagine.

As an attacker, this can put you at a severe disadvantage—if your only strategy is speed. To successfully beat fast defenders in soccer like Lionel Messi, you need to fully understand how they think and operate.

Since it is more difficult to beat them by trying to become faster, you can effectively conquer them psychologically. Gone are the days when defenders didn’t leave their half of the field. Today, defenders like Thiago Silva and Virgil van Dijk score goals.

Having a dependable group of quick defenders can provide a team with stability, allowing the rest of the players to concentrate on creating goal-scoring opportunities.

This is why most soccer teams put a lot of effort into building their defense. They spend a lot of money buying top-notch defenders and further improving them by putting them through a variety of defensive drills that will help them advance in strength and speed.

soccer player tackling a ball for defense

A quick defender can stifle attacks in a variety of ways, making it extremely tough for opponents to penetrate or even think of creating goal-scoring chances. Some ways in which fast defenders cripple attacks are listed below:

  • They can intercept balls passed to opponent players or tackle the player in possession of the ball
  • They can block a player’s path to prevent him or her from advancing as easily as they would want to
  • They can steer players away from the goal area by easily changing the ball’s direction

To understand how to beat man-marking and fast defenders on the pitch, you’ll need to use clever techniques. You can utilize position to your advantage or maintain control of the ball by whatever legal means possible.

Dribbling and giving multiple accurate passes (tiki-taka) to teammates while in the goal area can throw fast defenders off-balance. Below are some other effective techniques you can employ to adequately handle fast defenders on the pitch.

Position yourself smartly to beat a fast defender

You have an edge over fast defenders whenever you occupy an excellent position. By an excellent position, we mean a position that gives you enough space to give accurate passes, dribble, and evade fast defenders without much struggle.

soccer player fighting for a defender

While in an excellent position you can properly utilize the field’s width to your advantage. Even if you are a slow player, this will place the fast defenders in a subservient position, making it more difficult for them to mark you.

Train your eyes to easily identify good positions on the soccer pitch and constantly be on the lookout for ways to smartly outwit fast defenders. When attacking, it is wise to start wide instead of attacking directly from the center.

Keep the ball in your possession at all times

When it comes to effectively outwitting fast defenders in soccer, you have other choices besides positioning yourself smartly. Another strategy is to keep the ball close to your body at all times. It is harder to lose the ball if you keep it near your feet.

You wouldn’t want to be caught in your tracks while running with a loose ball since fast defenders have quick reflexes and can easily retrieve loose balls.

Hold possession of the ball and guard it properly while waiting for assistance from your teammates. Baiting can be utilized by your teammates in such a circumstance.

soccer player keeps the ball against a fast defender

An example of baiting is when your teammate distracts the defender ball-hogging you by sprinting toward the opponent’s goal post as if they intend to receive a pass from you and then start sprinting towards another direction when the defender starts chasing after them.

Another possibility is a return pass with your teammates. If you can’t dribble around fast defenders, pass balls to your teammates and then sprint to open spaces where you can easily receive return passes and maybe take shots on target.

Nothing confuses defenders like a well-delivered quick one-two pass.

Using skills and dribbles to beat fast defenders

You can use dribbles or other skills to beat fast defenders. These skills include “body feints”, “Marseille turn”, and “one-touch” dribbles, among others.

1. Body Feints

This is when your body movement misleads an opponent player. With these clever body motions, you can easily fool your opponent into thinking that you’re going to move in a certain direction.

Body feints exist in a variety of forms, all of which aim to improve your body’s agility and mobility. A false shot is one version of this basic move in soccer.

During the false shot, you make a move in one direction while feigning a shot, thereby deceiving the defender. Make a quick change in your initial direction, maybe by creating a tiny opening through which you can attempt a shot at goal or pass the ball to your teammates.

The defender’s response time will be slowed down by these maneuvers, as he or she will first move towards the wrong direction before eventually figuring out what the correct direction is.

This is a basic but very effective way of outsmarting the speed factor in fast defenders since you can fruitfully utilize their few seconds of indecision to your advantage. The body feint is a smart skill that soccer players should endeavor to learn—especially younger players.

5 BODY FEINTS YOU NEED TO LEARN - how to do these football skills

2. Marseille Turn

This move is virtually impossible to defend against if executed flawlessly with adequate speed, regardless of how fast defenders are.

This is due to the move’s fast and abrupt change in direction and also the constant shielding of the ball. It is usually achieved when on the run and its major aim is to draw an opponent’s attention away from the ball.

During the Marseille Turn, you place one foot on the ball and pull it back with the other foot. To successfully execute this move, turn your body to 90 degrees then set your right foot on the ball and drag it with your left foot.

While practicing the Marseille Turn, push and pull exercises are a good place to start. This easy practice is quite useful for improving close ball control. Repeating it will help you master the Marseille Turn later on.

The drill is to pull the ball towards you with your sole and then push it forward with your other foot. That way, you will advance your ball skills and become used to handling the ball with different parts of your foot, particularly the bottom.

HOW TO LEARN THE MARSEILLE TURN | The Zidane Roulette football skill

3. One-Touch Dribble

While doing the one-touch dribble, you have to, first of all, set your body up in such a manner that you are ready and open to receiving the ball. The ball should be received with the foot that is further away from the ball.

You drive the ball forward with your initial touch, creating a quick dribble that can catch your defenders off guard before passing to your teammate. Juggling drills can be a good way of improving this skill.

You can use cones to practice with teammates and make sure you perfect this skill before using it on the soccer pitch because it requires a great level of mastery.

Other strategies for dealing with fast defenders

soccer player dribbles the ball through a fast defender

  • You shouldn’t allow a fast defender to achieve his or her maximum speed on the pitch. When a defender reaches their full speed, they usually earn a significant advantage over you and will be able to mark your movement and retrieve the ball from your foot with ease.
  • When confronted with two or more defenders, endeavor to change the direction of your movements and tempo as often as possible. They will not be able to use their speed effectively since you’ll become unpredictable.
  • It is a bad tactic to allow defenders to approach you too closely before trying to evade them—unless you are really good at dribbling. If you are not, try going around them in a wide circle.
  • Develop your dribbling skills. Players who are good at dribbling can utilize it effectively when trying to hold possession of the ball and prevent defenders from repossessing it, no matter how fast they are.
  • Endurance can assist you in dealing with fast defenders. They won’t be able to intimidate you with their speed if you can preserve your stamina and ball control after being tackled under pressure.
  • If they are faster than you, you will not be able to outrun them. However, if you use your body to shield the ball, you will be able to keep it.
  • One of the most significant abilities of competent soccer players is their ability to correctly predict the next move of opponents. You can start your run sooner than a defender if you have an innate ability to read their pattern of play
  • If you improve your decision-making skills, you’ll be able to make rapid and dependable judgments with the soccer ball. Whenever you evaluate the ball location and the position of defenders before the ball arrives, you will be able to continue the play and shoot balls faster than your opponents can respond.


Soccer teams pay close attention to their defensive line since this is a part of the team that can effectively hold back opponent players from scoring goals. Teams usually build their defenses with fast and effective defenders, making it difficult for attackers to penetrate.

Beating fast defenders in a match is a difficult task that can be intimidating sometimes. Fast defenders are tough to beat, especially for young and inexperienced soccer players.

Nonetheless, we believe if you diligently follow the strategies described in this article, you will have no trouble beating fast soccer defenders.

It is the job of the coach to develop drills and discuss techniques that will allow their strikers to beat a fast defender. This entails studying the opponent players’ strengths and weaknesses and coming up with a strategy that will neutralize them.