Beating Your Opponents in 1 vs. 1 Duels

When you are facing your opponent 1 vs. 1, it is important to figure out the best way for stealing the ball from him.

I find this issue to be so important that I made a whole article about it. Let’s cut right to the chase with some tips.

Distance to Your Opponent

Don’t be too close on your opponent. The nearer you are, the easier it will be to get around you. However, you should not either be too far away. I recommend you to keep your opponent about a half yard from you.

Don’t Rush at Your Opponent

You should keep in mind that one of the most important things while playing as a defender is to have patience.

If you rush at your opponents it will be so much easier to get around you. Keep yourself calm and wait for your opponent to make the first move.

Analyze Your Opponent

One thing that will help you perform well as a defender is to recognize your opponent’s weaknesses.

It doesn’t matter how good your opponent is because he will always have a weak side and it is your task to find it.

This will be much easier if you have already faced your opponent before.

Don’t Stare at The Ball

While defending you should always try to regain the possession of the ball. However, don’t stare too much.

Instead, keep an eye on your opponent feet and try to predict what he will do next.

Don’t Slide Tackle

When facing an opponent 1 vs. 1 your last option should be executing a slide tackle against him.

Your first option should be to regain the possession of the ball by staying on your feet. However, if you slide tackle, you need to be focused at 100%.

The reason is simple; if you miss the ball the referee will either punish with a yellow or maybe even a red card, if the tackle if brutal enough.


You’ll discover that playing in defense is not just about clearing the ball 100 yards away from your goal.

Instead, you have to analyze the game fast and also predict your opponent’s next move.

One thing I have learned while playing as defender is to never underestimate my opponent no matter how poor he seems to be.

Instead, act professionally and treat every opponent with respect. If you do so, I can promise that you will rarely lose a 1 vs. 1 situation.

Stay around and browse our other sections on soccer training, especially the one on soccer formations.