Part 8 - "Cheating"

What You Will Learn:

  • That players may not defend and instead wait in free space to be given the ball.

What do we mean by cheating?

In this sense it is not about foul play or gamesmanship. Cheating is a term used to describe players who do not follow the usual tactical pattern when defending. In any team a player is either attacking, defending or in transition.

Cheating is when a player ignores his/her defensive role and tries to exploit space left by the opposition attacking. The player will occupy the space left by the opposition attacking and wait for play to break down to exploit this.

Cheating can occur all over the pitch. It is where players do not play their defensive zonal role. (If your team has the ball then the opposition should move back and defend the correct space zone). Sometimes players don't do this.

Why do players cheat? There are various reasons:

  1. It may be because the player is unfit.
  2. A player may be tactically unaware.
  3. It could be seen as a deliberate way of exploiting space. If the "cheaters" team adapt to cover and release this player, it can be effective.

How should you treat a cheat?

Firstly, decide which category they fall into. As a general rule ignore a cheat - a player should still go forward.

However, this depends on how effective the player is who is cheating. If a player is, for example, out wide, not in the danger zone, s/he can be relatively safely left. However, if the player is a good dribbler, and uses the space to get into the danger zone or scoring zone effectively, then a tactical change needs to be made.

It is a good idea to point out that a player is cheating to others. This allows the team to adapt, and means they accept that your role is to go forward. Factors, such as the score at the time, and, as mentioned above, how good the "cheater" is, will need to be considered.

Extra Tips

  • It is important to identify when an opposition player is cheating. A strategy to deal with them can be implemented.
  • Cheating can be used as an effective tactic. It can be used to find space.

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