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Zone play

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genta roberto_thumb_medium150_212In this article I will try to give some very synthetic ideas related to zone markings.
Teaching this type of defensive tactics is often complicated, and you need to spend a lot of time during training sessions. In addition to the movements, the coach will have to take care of the times of execution of a defensive strategy (diagonals, triangle, overlaps and slips in the various lines) and carefully analyze the spaces between players and the various departments.
Normally I perform some theoretical sessions, trying to show the basics that regulate this type of marking, then move on the field showing the movements and making the various situations try.
I've always been helping (in the early days) with a rubber band that binds the various defensive lines (in the case of the 442 - 4 defenders and 4 midfielders). The elastic has the function of making the department compact and give the correct spaces between the various players.

In the first phase, the movements will be performed by placing references and then moving the formation in relation to the possible position of the ball (through numbered cones). It will be the coach's responsibility to identify any errors and correct postures or intervention times.

This type of exercise can also be used during the athletic part, thus introducing a tactical concept to a purely physical movement.

Basic considerations:

· Each player has an area in which he is responsible when an opponent enters. The opponent is taken over and marked until he leaves the controlled area.

· In the zone game, more importance is given to the ball than the opposing player, and there are marching and other surveillance situations.

· The whole team is involved in the mark and the level of attention must be high because the movement is not tied to a single opponent, but to a group defensive tactic.

· In the zone game, each movement must be coordinated and studied, and verbal communication between players is essential, to give the times related to the movements.

· The concept of zone is applied in the case of non possession of the ball, and in particular the timing of adaptation in the case of negative transition (ball loss) is fundamental. When a player loses the ball, the team must take the defensive move, trying to position quickly with the largest number of players below the ball line.

· In zone play, it is important to create more defensive lines in order to make the descent towards the goal complicated. For this reason we use the defensive diagonals or the central triangle (which we will then analyze)

· In the zone game, the concept of temporization is fundamental, with temporal meaning the ability of a player to slow down the opposing action, with the purpose of giving time to the companions to organize the defensive action.Once deployed the defense, the person who initiated the maneuver of temporization may intervene.

· The knowledge of the principles of human markings is essential to implement the zone markings, in fact, since the opponent enters a certain area, the marker must apply all the principles of man-marking.
Let's now look at a typical positioning called diagonal, where the concept of "more defensive lines" is clear. The ball carrier is seen to be faced by the left side which, given the correct defensive positioning, can intervene without making a temporization.

In the following case, (probably after a negative transition) the left marker must absolutely apply a timing strategy, with the purpose of giving time to the defensive line to position itself.

In the following case, the attack is central, and also the defensive positioning changes its own scheme, also maintaining in this case the concept of more defensive lines. In the following drawing we see a change of marking (first done from the left side and now from the left central) and a complete restructuring by the defensive strategy.

As the ball holder moves to the right, once again the marker is changed and once again the defensive set-up is changed.


Now let's see the difference between the marking and control of an opponent. As is clear in the figure below, the ball carrier is marked, resulting in the most dangerous player, while the left opponent is only controlled remotely.



Since the central bearer passes the ball to the left side, the latter must pass from controlled to marked, while the central from the marked will pass to controlled. In the figure below the ball transits from the left to the right and consequently a diagonal is created on the right front, a control on the central opponent and a less important control on the left side.


The defensive adaptation must take place extremely quickly, trying to always guarantee excellent coverage and above all more lines of defense.

As we can easily note, the marking is not an individual movement, but a collective "dance" with very precise rules.

Now let's introduce the concept of pressure, put in place by a midfielder. As you can see in the figure below, the defense started its defensive maneuver creating the diagonal, while one of the midfielders went to put pressure on the ball carrier who with difficulty will manage his possession. The player is thus closed in a vice, where it will be difficult to manage the support of a player positioned in the rear. In the figure below on the right we see a defensive action with pressure performed in the central part of the field.



Another concept that I consider important to be analyzed is related to "under the ball line".

Some players play only the 3 or 4 players who make up the defense, but as we said previously, zone play is a collective defensive strategy and that's why every player will have his own task. Now let's see an example where the team manages to bring a large number of players under the ball line, creating a very full-bodied defensive barrier, able to effectively hinder the enemy intrusion.

For now, we have analyzed the movements related to the defensive department, let's see now how to place the midfield line in relation to the ball holder. In the following case we see the defensive pattern with a double diagonal.

Below is the defensive configuration related to an attack in the central zone, (defensive line of the midfield) where you can clearly see the longitudinal positioning of the defense line and the triangle generated by the midfielders.


Let's now look at another specific case, where the left bearer skips the first line of the defensive diagonal. In this case the skipped player will have to decide whether to go for pressure or to jump to strengthen the diagonal structure.

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In the drawing below we try to analyze a more complex situation where the diagonal lateral (left) is skipped and a dangerous offensive maneuver is triggered. In particular, on the right side an opponent tries to position himself in a free zone without being controlled or marked (by the defensive diagonal). In this case it will be a midfielder to slip diagonally in a defensive way, thus neutralizing a possible dangerous situation. In case the slip was not implemented and the ball owner would execute a cross by skipping the diagonal, the defensive lines would be completely canceled (figure below right)

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This type of strategy (diagonal cross) turns out to be a valid countermove to the zone markings, in fact, if the defense is not quick in rotating the diagonal, the defensive lines are completely canceled.

The area marking naturally includes many variations, in this article I tried to give some basic ideas related to this type of marking.

Other articles: Technical Notes based on the 4-2-3-1 module

Author: gentaWebsite: www.tecnoprogress.itEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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