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Flat Back Four BUAC Girls Varsity This year we will be running a Flat Back Four.

This defense is different then the one we ran last year. I believe that the overall technical ability of the team has improved to the point where the girls can get their heads up enough to play this style of defense. The Flat Back Four has both strengths and weakness. The largest weakness is the potential for miscommunication and not immediately pressuring when a player becomes the 1st Defender. Obviously, as an Attacker with the ball moves across our back line, our defenders in turn will “pass off” the attacker. It is during this “passing off” that risk occurs if the new 1st Defender does not pressure immediately. This risk is why I have been so hard on the girls recognizing when they are the 1st Defender. In the pictures below, I will show several applications of the Flat Back Four. The Offense is lined up flat for illustration purposes only. The numbers assigned to the defender are historical and go back to the 1,800’s. 3 is a Left Outside Back; 5 is a Left Center Back; 6 is a Right Center Back; and 2 is a Right Outside Back. Principles of Defense 1) Pressure – a. Force attacking team to take time in organizing attack so that defenders have time to build a collective defending action between ball and goal. 1st Defender’s angle makes opponents play predictable. (Delay) b. The work of the 1st defender should implement principle of delay. Cover a. Covering players support the 1st defender at the correct angle and distance depending on the disposition of attackers and area of the field. b. The work of the 2nd Defender Balance a. Tracking of opponents making vertical runs away from area of the ball (weak side). b. The work of the 3rd Defender. Concentration (lateral) and compactness (vertical) a. Squeezing together of defenders from back and from side to side to form a defending block. Organization a. Defending in a way which limits or nullifies individual and group creativity (Make play predictable).

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The name Flat Back Four is a misnomer. The Defense is never really flat!

1st Picture In the picture below, Player A has the ball. 3 is Pressure, 5 is Cover, 6 is Balance and 2 is also Balance. There are several important things to notice in the picture. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) All four backs are turned in such a way as to be able to see the ball and the goal. The GK has shifted and is off their line. There are only three lines of defense. 3 is one line, 5 and 2 are a second line and 6 is a third line. As a group the defense is concentrated (laterally) and compact (vertically). 5 is Covering 3, but has set up in such a position to serve two purposes. The first is that they are ready to become the 1st Defender if 3 gets beat and to be able to get to Player B the same time as the ball in the event of a pass. 6 is providing Cover for 5 AND Balance for 3. They too could get to Player B the same time as the ball in the event of a pass. Player 2 is also Balance. They are positioned to be able to get to Player C or Player D the same time as the ball in the event of a pass. All five principles of defense are being addressed!

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2nd Picture In the second picture I have simply laid a shooting cone over the 1st Picture. It shows that Player A does not have much of a chance with a shot. 1) 2) The GK is in good position to stop a goal 5 and 6 is also in a good position to move and block a shot.

3rd Picture In the picture below, Player B has the ball. 5 is Pressure, 3 is Cover, 6 is Cover and 2 is Balance. There are several important things to notice in the picture. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) All four backs are turned in such a way as to be able to see the ball and the goal. The GK has shifted and is off their line. There are only three lines of defense. 5 is one line, 3 and 6 are a second line and 2 is a third line. As a group the defense is concentrated (laterally) and compact (vertically). 3 is Covering 5, but has set up in such a position to serve two purposes. The first is that they are ready to become the 1st Defender if 3 gets beat and to be able to get to Player A the same time as the ball in the event of a pass. 6 is providing Cover for 5, but has set up in such a position to serve two purposes. The first is that they are ready to become the 1st Defender if 5 gets beat and to be able to get to Player C the same time as the ball in the event of a pass. Player 2 is Balance. They are positioned to be able to get to Player D the same time as the ball in the event of a pass. All five principles of defense are being addressed!

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4th Picture In the picture below, Player C has the ball. 6 is Pressure, 5 is Cover, 2 is Cover and 3 is Balance. There are several important things to notice in the picture. 1) All four backs are turned in such a way as to be able to see the ball and the goal. 2) The GK has shifted and is off their line. 3) There are only three lines of defense. 6 is one line, 2 and 5 are a second line and 3 is a third line. 4) As a group the defense is concentrated (laterally) and compact (vertically). 5) 5 is Covering 6, but has set up in such a position to serve two purposes. The first is that they are ready to become the 1st Defender if 6 gets beat and to be able to get to Player B the same time as the ball in the event of a pass. 6) 2 is providing Cover for 6, but has set up in such a position to serve two purposes. The first is that they are ready to become the 1st Defender if 6 gets beat and to be able to get to Player D the same time as the ball in the event of a pass. 7) Player 3 is Balance. They are positioned to be able to get to Player A the same time as the ball in the event of a pass. 8) All five principles of defense are being addressed!

5th Picture In the picture below, Player D has the ball. 2 is Pressure, 6 is Cover, 5 is Balance and 3 is also Balance. There are several important things to notice in the picture. 1) All four backs are turned in such a way as to be able to see the ball and the goal. 2) The GK has shifted and is off their line. 3) There are only three lines of defense. 2 is one line, 6 and 3 are a second line and 5 is a third line. 4) As a group the defense is concentrated (laterally) and compact (vertically). 5) 6 is Covering 2, but has set up in such a position to serve two purposes. The first is that they are ready to become the 1st Defender if 2 gets beat and to be able to get to Player C the same time as the ball in the event of a pass. 6) 5 is providing Cover for 6 AND Balance for 2. They too could get to Player C the same time as the ball in the event of a pass. 7) Player 3 is also Balance. They are positioned to be able to get to Player A or Player B the same time as the ball in the event of a pass. 8) All five principles of defense are being addressed!

It is important to note in all situations that when a square pass is made, all defensive players shift to the new positions immediately! There can be no lag time or the defense will become flat and unbalanced!