Academy Coach Course

Compactness in the Game

What does Compactness look like

Compactness is another vital defensive principle in soccer, which refers to the idea of reducing space between players and between the lines of defense (defenders and midfielders) to limit the room the opposing team has to operate in.

Here are some examples to illustrate what it looks like when a team successfully executes the principle of compactness:

Technical Skills

To effectively implement Compactness, players must possess the following technical skills:

Tackling: Players should be proficient in standing tackles, slide tackles, and block tackles to win the ball back quickly and efficiently.

Positioning: Understanding and maintaining the correct defensive position is crucial for effective Concentration.

Intercepting: Anticipating passes and making interceptions can break down the attacking team’s rhythm and limit their progress.

Clearing: Players should have the ability to clear the ball out of danger areas and reset the defensive line.


Effective communication and teamwork are essential for successfully implementing Compactness. Players should:

Communicate defensive roles and responsibilities to each other.

Provide constant support and cover for teammates.

Employ non-verbal communication, such as signalling or pointing, to convey information quickly and effectively.

Maintain a strong work ethic and collective effort to execute the Defensive Principle of Concentration.

Tactical knowledge players need

To apply Compactness effectively, players must develop a strong understanding of the following tactical concepts:

Defensive shape:
The team must maintain a compact and well-organized defensive shape to limit space and restrict the attacking team’s progress.

Pressure on the ball:
Pressuring the ball carrier can force them into making mistakes or backward/sideways passes, allowing the team to regain possession.

Players must provide support and cover for each other to prevent gaps from opening up in the defence.

Transition play: Transition play: Understanding when to transition from defence to attack and vice versa is crucial for effective implementation of Concentration.

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