Itís all about positioning and
awareness for the 3rd defender.
He is primarily a zone defender.
While watching for possible switches to a wide player on his side of the
field (where he would become 1st defender), he is mainly
concerned with providing cover for the 1st and 2nd
Most important, itís his job to
make sure to cover against crosses into the goal mouth.
Mark the third attacking player loosely. Only close
enough to close down after a direct switch pass (when you become the 1st
cover for second defender
move to the middle against crosses
must watch both for midfielders cutting in to receive a cross
behind 2nd defender, and his own man at the far post. If in
doubt, cover the center and leave the far post.
Becomes 2nd defender if 1st
defender is beaten and 2nd defender has to go help.
positioning for 3rd defender
In the figure above, D3 is the
third defender. His primary focus is on providing cover for D1 and D2, and
for protecting the vulnerable space behind them (the danger zone)
defender support for second defender
In the figure above, D2 is now 1st
defender. D3 has moved over to become 2nd defender. This leaves
A3 unmarked, and the oval space unguarded. Thatís dangerous but necessary,
because A1 and A2 are the immediate threat. Thatís why the midfield has to
defend! Only the far side midfielder can mark A3 and cover the danger zone.
defender immediately, before A1 can get past D2as well as D1
In the figure above, the point of
attack is now the wing, and the danger area is in front of goal. D3 is now 3rd
defender, and must guard both against a run toward goal by A2, and a far
post run by A3.
Donít let an attacker
get between you and the ball or you and the goal in the danger zone. You
must get to the ball first!