Soccer is a constantly evolving game, and most teams across the world have over the years adopted a more possession-based style of gameplay. Hence, great emphasis is placed on gaining possession of the ball.
Teams are being drilled on the art of taking the ball away from opponents, at different positions on the field of play. Winning possession at different areas of the pitch has different consequences. As a result training sessions include ways to win the ball as a team and as individuals.
The two fundamental methods adopted include making tackles, and making interceptions. These two methods have been proven effective in winning possession in all parts of the pitch.
While one involves making physical contact with the opponent, the other relies majorly on perception, anticipation, and being able to predict the opponent’s next move.
Ultimately, the goal in every match is to win, but as many goals in the opposition team net. This can only happen when you are in possession of the ball. This article seeks to carefully dissect these two essentials, showing you practical ways of how you can take the ball away from someone in soccer.
How To Take The Ball Away From Someone In Soccer?
As aforementioned, there are different ways to legally win the ball from an opponent in soccer. The ways depend greatly on the in-game position of the ball.
Some methods are the only options suitable in situations where the defensive infrastructure of the team is already compromised. On the other hand, other methods are majorly precautionary preventing dangerous situations.
In soccer, tackling is the act of taking the ball away from an opponent. It is done in several ways, all with the hope of disrupting the flow of the opponent’s game. Tackles are delicate and must be well thought through before being executed.
When poorly timed or borne of frustration, one could end up hurting the opposition team’s player or even oneself. Hence proper study and dedication are required for mastering this art.
Tackles give different results even when well-timed and properly executed. There are four main types of tackles. These include:
The block tackle
One of the most common ways of tackling is through the use of block tackle. The block tackle is initiated when the opponent pushes the ball in a way that you are given an opportunity to put your body between the opponent and the ball. It depends greatly on capitalizing on the error of your opponent.
To successfully implement this in a phase of play, you will need to be alert. Keep your eyes on the ball and as the opposition player approaches your area ensure you are a few feet away from your opponent.
Once your opponent moves the ball within range, extend your foot and plant it firmly behind the ball.
This movement allows you to use the rest of your body to shield the ball away from the opposition and to make a pass to your teammate.
When about to execute, you can also bend your knees slightly. This gives you a lower center of gravity and balance.
- Block tackles allow you to win the ball cleanly
- Little risk of fouling the opposition player
- It is also a form of tackle that allows you to stay on your feet.
- Gives the defender time to find a pass after recovering possession
- Even when poorly timed, the opponent’s game is still disrupted because the player with the ball is automatically impeded.
- It gives you the perfect opportunity to make technical fouls.
- Balls recovered from the middle of the park can be used to start an attack
- You risk being nutmegged
- High risk of losing possession after gaining it especially when up against a persistent opponent.
- When implementing there is a chance that of stepping on the opponent’s foot
The toe poke tackle
The toe-poke is a more basic approach to tackling. It involves the defender extending a leg to poke the ball away from an opponent.
The toe poke can be carried out in two major scenarios. When you are directly facing the opponent or when you are running alongside each other. To successfully carry out the toe-poke, the tackle must be carried out with speed. This skill is essential for defenders and central defensive midfielders.
Unlike the block tackle, more emphasis is placed on speed and being light-footed. Being alert to poke the ball away when the opportunity arrives is also key. For correct execution the defender must lead with their stronger foot and aim to make firm contact with the ball, striking it away from the opponent’s reach.
- Can be executed when the ball is stationary or in motion
- Minimal risk of injury to self or opponent when properly implemented.
- The toe-poke is your best bet when out-numbered or being counter-attacked
- It allows the defender to kick the ball out of play
- Creates time for the team to regain its defensive shape
- There is a possibility of injuring the opposition player when the toe-poke is poorly timed.
- Toe pokes have been the most prevalent reasons for fouls in critical portions of the pitch
- The Toe poke tackle requires speed and precision
- You stand a risk of being nutmegged in the process.
The sliding tackle
The sliding tackle is an efficient but risky way of taking the ball away from someone. The defender initiates a slide tackle by sliding to make contact with the ball usually when the opponent is about to move away with the ball or bearing down on goal.
When initiating a slide tackle it is advisable to slide on one side of the body, bending the supporting leg to prevent a “studs up” challenge situation. Bending the support leg also helps the defender to recover quickly.
Similar to what you will find in other tackling techniques, control and precision are important. As a result, the slide tackle should be used as a last resort. Getting it wrong can lead to serious consequences for the defender and the team as a whole.
Referees do not tolerate challenges where the studs are raised when making a sliding tackle. In most cases, a straight red card is issued.
- Slide tackles can win you a match.
- They are made in most cases when the opponent is bearing down and about to take a shot.
- When done precisely, it helps recover the ball efficiently.
- Prevents potentially dangerous situations.
- Slide tackles when done away from the goal are also used as in tactical foul play.
- It blocks shots from long or short ranges
- The risk of injury when initiating a slide tackle is considerably high
- Slide tackles are risky and can result in a defender being sent off
- A poorly timed tackle can result in a horrific career-ending injury.
The shoulder barge
The shoulder barge is another form of tackling that allows complete repossession of the ball, leaving enough time to make a pass. It can be implemented when players are running side by side or close to each other.
To implement a shoulder barge the defender uses the shoulder to barge their opponent off the ball by pushing into them with a measured force. The shoulder barge requires a lot of precision and a balance between aggression and grace.
When too much force is applied the referee may award a foul in favor of the opposition team. Hence, ensure that the barge is properly timed and that you are strong enough to carry it out. Obeying Newton’s law of collision, a stationary object would move in the direction of the moving object that collides with it.
This implies that when a shoulder barge is implemented, you can send your opponent flying away but there are exceptions where the defender isn’t strong enough and ends up being the one falling awkwardly.
- The shoulder barge ensures ball recovery and rarely leads to the ball going out of play.
- It is an effective means of winning the ball when both players are in motion
- Shoulder barges allow for legal contact in a bid to win the ball.
- The shoulder barge could go both ways as the opposition player may be stronger than the defender
- The shoulder barge is usually ruled as a foul.
- It may result in injuries.
Interceptions are a bit different from tackles as they do not require the defender to make any form of contact with the opponent. The focus is solely on winning the ball by strategic positioning and anticipation.
Interceptions require a lot of background study. A forehand knowledge of the passing movements and set plays of the opponent. This allows the defender to predict the next move of the opponent.
To implement an interception the defender pounces on a pass made by an opponent before it reaches the receiver. The pass may be a short pass, a lobbed cross, or a ball played through the defensive lines.
Several factors are worthy of note to master the art of making interceptions to take the ball away from someone. These factors are important for the defender to consider, they include:
- Maintain a close position to the ball
Staying within a touching distance from the opponent and the ball puts you in a good position to make an interception when the opportunity presents itself.
The defender should not be so close to the point that it will be difficult to react when the ball is eventually played. Keep in mind the ball moves faster than you.
- Keep the ball and receiver(s) in view
Interceptions are all about anticipation, knowing what your opponent is about to do before the action is taken. This is why it is essential to keep the likely receivers of the ball in view. In most cases, the defender making the interception is not the player making the opponent with the ball.
This allows the defender hoping to make the interception to track the run of the opposition players waiting to receive the ball.
- Have a slightly sideways-on body position
A sideways stance gives you a perfect view of what is going on around you. You can keep your eye on the ball tracking the runs in behind you as you wait patiently to intercept the pass as it is made.
Should the player with the ball come in your direction, the sideways stance also gives you the perfect position to make a tackle if necessary.
- Stay switched on and anticipate the pass
This is crucial to making an interception. The defender must have a good game reading ability. Being patiently expectant and mentally switched on will allow the defender to react quickly as the pass is made.
Watch the stronger foot of the opponent and anticipate the direction of the pass. This will help greatly in making the interception.
- Stay vigilant, watch out for the passers eye and head movement
While keeping your eye on the ball, take time out to check the head and eye movements of the passer, mark out the players in his line of sight. The passer can only give the ball to a visible teammate. Studying this movement can give you a pointer to where the ball is intended to go, putting you in the perfect position to intercept.
- Safe ways to take the ball away from someone
- There is no physical contact between the passer and the defender.
- Interceptions also help in retaining possession as the ball is won and not kicked out of play in most cases.
- Can also be used as a springboard to launch counterattacks
- Rules out any chance of injuring a player from the opposing team
- The interception is a difficult skill requiring a lot of background work and know-how of the game.
- It also takes years of experience in the game to correctly predict the opponent’s next move.
- Requires a lot of speed and agility.
Finding the preferred method of taking the ball away from someone depends on your physical attributes as a player. Moreover, it also depends on which part of the pitch you are in during the game.
For every method, it is essential to be in good shape both mentally and physically. This will allow you to stay ready for any phase of play, able to adapt to whatever the opponents throw in your path.
So, learn and practice any of the methods as they will help you steal the ball continuously from your opponent!
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!