What is Soccer Zonal Defending And How To Use It?

By Woodland Soccer Team •  Updated: 08/01/22 •  6 min read

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In order to understand what is soccer zonal defending, we first need to understand what zonal marking is. Zonal marking is a defensive tactic where defenders are assigned certain areas of the pitch (zones) for which they are responsible. This tactic is often used in order to protect against opposition players who are looking to create chances by dribbling into dangerous areas. In this blog post, we will discuss what is zonal defending, how to use it, and much more!

What Is Soccer Zonal Defending?

Zonal defending is a soccer tactic employed to protect against opposition players who look to create chances by dribbling into dangerous areas. In zonal defending, each player is assigned to a specific area of the pitch (zone).

The main objective of zonal defending is to prevent the opposition from penetrating the defensive line and creating goal-scoring. Most soccer teams employ some form of zonal defending, especially at the professional level. In zonal defending, each player is responsible for a specific area of the field. This can help to prevent gaps in the defense and make it more difficult for the opposition to find space to attack.

How To Use Zonal Defending

There are several different ways to set up a zonal defense, but most teams will use a 4-4-2 formation, with four defenders, four midfielders, and two strikers. The defenders and midfielders will typically be arrayed in two lines across the field, with the strikers positioned in front of them.

By staying in their zones, each player can provide support to their teammates and make it more difficult for the opposition to score. Zonal defending requires coordination and communication from all players, but when executed properly, it can be an effective way to stifle an opponent’s attack.

Why Do Teams Use Zonal Marking In Soccer?

There are a few reasons why teams might choose to use zonal marking in soccer. One reason is that it can help to prevent goals from being scored from set pieces, such as corners or free kicks. Zonal marking can also be used to crowd the opposition’s attacking players and make it difficult for them to get on the ball. When used correctly, zonal marking can be an effective way to defend against the opposition’s attack.

How Do You Teach Zonal Marking In Soccer?

There are a few key things to keep in mind when teaching zonal marking in soccer.

  1. First, it’s important to stress the importance of each player having a specific role and sticking to their zone.
  2. Second, players need to be aware of the movements of the other players on the field and adjust their positioning accordingly.
  3. Lastly, it’s crucial that players communicate with each other so that they can make quick decisions when an opponent enters their zone.

By keeping these things in mind, you can help your players develop the skills they need to be successful at zonal marking.

What Is Zonal Pressing In Soccer?

Zonal pressing is a soccer technique that involves applying pressure on the opposing team while they are in possession of the ball. The goal of zonal pressing is to force the opposing team to make a mistake or turn the ball over. There are two main types of zonal pressing: high pressing and low pressing.

High pressing is when the defensive team applies pressure immediately after the other team gains possession of the ball. Low pressing is when the defensive team drops back and applies pressure only when the other team gets close to their goal.

Zonal pressing can be an effective way to disrupt an opposing team’s offensive rhythm and create scoring opportunities for your team. However, it requires all players on the defensive side to be on the same page and working together. If one player is not properly executing their role, it can leave gaps in the defense that the other team can exploit.

What Are The Five Defending Principles Of Soccer?

The five defending principles of soccer are pressure, balance, cover, compactness, and discipline.

  1. Pressure: This is when the defenders close down the opposition players in order to force them into making a mistake.
  2. Balance: This is when the defenders maintain their shape and positions in order to be able to defend against any attack.
  3. Cover: This is when the defenders cover for each other in case one of them is beaten. Defenders need to have good communication in order to do this.
  4. Compactness: This is when the defenders are close to each other in order to limit the space that the opposition has to play in. It also makes it harder for the opposition to penetrate the defensive line. Defenders need to be able to move quickly and be aware of their teammates’ positions in order to do this.
  5. Discipline: This is when the defenders maintain their positions and do not allow themselves to be drawn out of position. It is important for the defenders to have self-control and not get caught up in the game.

What Are The Defending Positions In Soccer?

When it comes to defending in soccer, there are three main positions: full-backs, center-backs, and sweepers. Each position has its own responsibilities and requires different skill sets.

1.      Full-backs are usually the quickest defenders on the team and are responsible for marking the opposing team’s winger.

2.      Centre-backs are the tallest and strongest defenders, tasked with stopping the opposing team’s striker.

3.      Sweeper is a more specialized position, requiring the player to have good vision and awareness. The sweeper is responsible for cleaning up any balls that get past the full-backs and center-backs.

When it comes to defending, each position is crucial in ensuring that the opposing team does not score.


In conclusion, we covered what soccer zonal defending is and how to teach it. We also looked at the different positions in soccer and why teams might use zonal marking. Hopefully, this has given you a better understanding of the topic so that you can defend your goal more effectively! Thanks for reading



Woodland Soccer Team

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