Academy Coach Course

Coaching Delay

When you are working with younger and beginner soccer players, introducing the defensive principle of Delay can be done in a fun and engaging way. Here’s how you can simplify, explain and teach the principle of delay to your players:

What is it?

  1. The Defensive Principle of Delay refers to the act of slowing down the progress of the attacking team to allow your own team time to recover and get into a better defensive shape.
  2. It involves a defender putting pressure on the ball carrier without necessarily trying to win the ball immediately, but instead focusing on restricting the attacker’s options and buying time for the team to reorganize.
  3. Essentially, it’s a defensive strategy that values patience and intelligence, understanding that sometimes it’s better to contain the opponent rather than rushing to win the ball back.

Why is it important?

  1. Defensive Delay is important because it can disrupt the rhythm of the attacking team, making it more difficult for them to create scoring opportunities.
  2. It provides crucial time for your own team to recover, reorganize, and get into a better defensive shape. This can be particularly important during transitions from attack to defence.
  3. By delaying the opponent, you can force them to make a decision under pressure, which can often lead to turnovers and opportunities for your own team to counter-attack.

When so we use it?

  1. Delay is particularly useful during transitions from attack to defence, when the opponent might be looking to exploit spaces in your defence.
  2. It’s also valuable when your team is outnumbered and needs time to recover. Instead of rushing in and risking being beaten, the defender can focus on delaying the opponent.
  3. Delay can be used whenever the opponent has the ball and is looking to attack. It’s a useful defensive strategy that can be applied all over the pitch.

Where does it happen?

  1. Delay can be utilized all over the field. It’s not just a strategy for the defenders, but for all players who find themselves in a defensive situation.
  2. It’s particularly useful in the defensive third, where slowing down the opponent’s attack can reduce the risk of conceding a goal.
  3. Delay can also be applied in the midfield to disrupt the opponent’s build-up play and buy time for your own team to get into a better defensive shape.

Who does it?

  1. All players may find themselves in a situation where they need to provide delay. It’s a collective defensive responsibility that’s not just limited to the defenders.
  2. The player who is closest to the ball carrier is typically the one who needs to provide delay. This player is often referred to as the first defender.
  3. Even attacking players may need to provide delay during defensive transitions, when they need to slow down the opponent’s counter-attack and allow their own team to recover.

How do we do it?

  1. Delay can be provided by closing down the space around the ball carrier, forcing them to slow down or change direction.
  2. It’s important to approach the ball carrier at an angle, aiming to guide them towards an area where you have more defensive support. 
  3. Remember, the goal is not necessarily to win the ball immediately, but to slow down the attack. Patience and positional awareness are key.
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