What are skills that fullbacks need

Soccer coaching tips to make the most of your fullback

by Dave Clarke in Defending, Tips and advice

You often find soccer coaches will put their least creative players at the back so they have the ball in front of them and can just kick it forward. But it’s a mistake to think of the fullback in this way as they are vital for defendingand attacking in your tactical set up.

Key soccer coaching tip: The fullback is a very versatile role requiring your players to be physically and mentally alert.

Pitch position

In 11-a-side the fullback will protect the wings and force attackers away from goal. At times, they will have to move into the middle of the pitch and take up a central midfield position to cover space at the back. They will also overlap and become a winger to support the attack.

In 7-a-side/mini-soccer the role at the back is more central. The fullback will combine the position with a central defensive role, while still covering the wings and forcing attackers wide and away from goal. In this set-up they will also support the attack as a winger.

Tackle, jockey and intercept

  • Winning the ball with a tackle or interception is a vital part of the fullback’s role. The timing of the tackle is crucial – any mistimed tackles will concede free kicks or leave the full back out of position for the attacker to exploit the space.
  • Full backs will often face key moments in matches involving a 1v1 or 2v1 situation. In these instances the full back needs to hold up the attackers and move them away from goal.
  • The fullback should use a jockeying technique, where they keep their body between the attacker and the goal without jumping in to tackle. This slows the attack and allows fellow defenders to get into position.
  • When you coach your players the fullback role they should be alert, prepared to skip sideways or backwards, and be balanced – ready to tackle if the attacker shows them too much of the ball.
  • Fullbacks need to work on the sideways stance, which can help force an attacker away from goal and into an area where they may not want to go.


Use this soccer drill

Using a 10 yards square, you need two players and one ball. The defender passes to the attacker. As soon as the attacker controls the ball, the defender moves out quickly to challenge. The attacker must aim to dribble over the line marked A-B.

Make it harder for the defender by allowing the attacker to also dribble over lines A-C or B-D. There should be no tackling initially, until you feel players can jockey successfully.

Click the link for a passing, pressing and jockeying soccer drill.

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