Terms & Definitions

Key Terms and Definitions

This document contains the basic terms and their definitions to use during sessions and games. These include Tactical, Technical, Psychological, Physical, Set Pieces and Formations & Goalkeeping

 Tactical – Aspects to improve game understanding

 Attacking Principles

– Creating Space

– Support

– Width

– Depth

– Forward/Diagonal Runs

– Forward Play

– Speed of play

– Switching Positions

  1. Possession
  2. Transition
  3. Combination Play
  4. Switching Play
  5. Counter Attacking
  6. Playing out from the back
  7. Finishing in the final third


Defending Principles








  1. Zonal Defending
  2. Pressing
  3. Retreat and recovery
  4. Compactness



  1. First touch
  2. Running with the ball
  3. Passing and Receiving
  4. Turning
  5. Shooting
  6. Ball control
  7. Dribbling
  8. 1v1 attacking
  9. Receiving to turn
  10. Crossing and Finishing
  11. 1v1 Defending

– Body shape

– Anticipation

– Intercepting

– Prevent turning



Tactical Terminology




Defending Principles: Basic, individual or collective defensive actions of one or more

players in order to create a team advantage over the attackers.

-Mark: A defender or group of defenders watching over a player or group of players on the

attacking team, with the purpose of reducing their chances of participating in the attacking.

– Press: the individual action of a defensive player who defends with intensity the player in

possession of the ball.

– Cover: A player creates a second defensive line in order to facilitate defensive support of a

teammate or teammates.

-Balance: Coordinated movement of the defending team from one part of the field to another

as the ball is transferred to that part of the field with the objective of reorganizing the


-Tracking:A defender chasing an attacking player who is making a forward and/or diagonal

movement in front of the ball to generate a passing option.

Switching place: the exchange of positions between two defenders in order to be more

efficient defensively.

Zone defending: The distribution of defenders into space to create defensive efficiency.

Pressing: Intense, constant and organized defensive action from a group of defenders against the


Retreat and recovery: Movement of a player or a group of players back towards defensive positions

in order to reorganize the teams’ defensive shape.

Compactness: A gathering of defenders in central areas, protecting their goal and preventing the

attacking team from building their attack.

Tactical Terminology




Attacking Principles: Basic individual or collective attacking actions for one or more

players in order to create a team advantage for the attacker(s).

Creating Space: the distribution of players into space to generate effective passing


Support: help offered by a teammate(s) around the ball with the objective or receiving


Width: Movement and distribution of attacking players to wide areas in order to create

space and attacking options in a game context.

-Depth: Movement of a player or group of players into forward positions to generate attacking

options in a game context.

-Diagonal/Forward Runs: An attacking movement diagonal/forward into space, generally in

front of the ball, to create a passing option.

-Forward play: An effective and efficient movement of the ball towards the attacking end or


-Speed of Play: Quick ball movement which creates and advantage for the attacking team

over the defenders.

2a. Possession: Passing the ball repeatedly between players on the same team.

2b. Transition: The action of transferring the ball collectively as a team from the defensive

end to the attacking end.

2c. Combination Play: Quick and effective movement of the ball by two or more players

from the same team.

2d. Switching Play: The transferring of the ball from one part of the field to another, generally from one wide area to another in order to disorganize the defense and create and

advantage over the opponents.

2e. Counter Attacking: Fast and effective transfer of the ball towards the opponents goal

when possession has been regain in order to surprise and take advantage of the defenders

while they are still disorganized.

2f. Playing out from the back: The collective action of transferring the ball from the

defensive third to advanced attacking areas.

2g. Finishing in the final third: The collective actions in the final third of the field with the

objective of creating a goal scoring opportunity.

Technical Terminology

Technique: The ability to efficiently perform a specific soccer movement.

  1. Passing and Receiving: Transferring the ball on the ground or in the air from one player to

another from a given distance.

  1. Running with the ball: Control of a ball in movement with the feet and on the ground at

high speed.

  1. Dribbling: Close control of a ball in movement with the feet.
  2. Turning: One or more touches on the ball with the purpose of changing direction


  1. Shooting: Striking the ball toward the goal with the objective of scoring.
  2. Ball Control: Receiving or directing the ball efficiently in the air or on the ground.
  3. Heading: Striking the ball with any part of the head with the purpose of clearing, passing

or scoring.

  1. 1v1 attacking: Offensive action with control of the ball to beat a specific defender.
  2. Receiving to turn: A change of direction of the ball with the foot after receiving a pass

from a teammate with the purpose of making a second action such as dribbling, passing or


  1. Crossing and Finishing: Passing of the ball form wide areas of the field to a central area

close to goal with the intention of finding a teammate to score.

  1. 1v1 Defending: Action with the purpose of regaining possession of the ball in control by

the opponent.

-Body shape: Posture of the body to efficiently carry out the next defensive action.

– Anticipation: Reaction of the player to prevent an attacker from gaining an advantage.

– Intercepting: action to regain possession of the ball while it is transferred between two


– Preventing Turning: Pressure on an opponent who has his back to goal and is attempting to

change the direction of the ball towards the attacking zone.

– Tackling: Contact made with the foot while the ball is in possessed by an opponent and with

the purpose of preventing the next offensive action or regaining possession.




Aspects to increase performance

  1. Strength How strong the player is when trying to maintain control, or battling another player
  2. Endurance The level of fitness the player maintains. Can be measured by amount of time playing before needing a sub.
  3. Speed How fast the player is at their top speed
  4. Acceleration How long it takes a player to reach their intended speed
  5. Coordination and Balance How in control of their own body and movements a player is
  6. Agility The player’s flexibility.
  7. Reactions The speed the player can react to the ball or oppositions movements.



Aspects to increase performance

  1. Strength: The capacity to perform a sudden muscular action of high intensity against


  1. Endurance: The capacity to maintain physical activity of certain intensity during a period

of time.

  1. Speed: The capacity to execute a movement or cover a distance in the shortest time


-Reaction: The quickest possible processing of information and neuromuscular transmission

with the purpose of making a movement.

-Acceleration: The sudden increase of speed from a standing position or slow pace to a run.

-Aerobic Power: Depending on the age and the level of the player this would be a constant

and dynamic activity for periods of 2 to 3 minutes.

  1. Flexibility: The capacity of the body or part of the body to combine muscle elasticity and

joint mobility to reach the widest range of movement.

-Mobility: The capacity of the joints to perform wide movements.

  1. Coordination: The capacity to articulate efficient movements between different body


-Balance: the capacity to assess and coordinate internal and external factors affecting the

body status to stay in control of the body’s movement and/or conditions.

  1. 6. Agility: The constant change of speed with or without the ball at high pace, depending on

external conditions.

  1. Perception: the visual efficiency to identify and assess external situations.

-Awareness: The combination of various senses to identify and assess external situations.




Aspects to develop intelligent and mentally strong soccer players


  1. Motivation How much the player wants to work and get better
  2. Self Confidence feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.
  3. Response to Setbacks How does the player react to disappointing development such as injury, game loss or mistake
  4. Decision-determination The act of the player making a decision, and the repercussions of that decision.
  5. Competitiveness The quality of being as good as or better than others of a comparable nature


  1. ConcentrationThe action or power of focusing one’s attention or mental effort


  1. CommitmentThe percentage of team events that the player attends, or doesn’t attend without letting the coach know
  2. CoachabilityThe amount of time the coach has to deal with issues with a player. The less the better
  3. CommunicationThe quantity and confidence of appropriate instruction given to teammates on and off the field by the player


  1. Respect and Discipline Determined by the players attitude towards teammates, coaches, staff, opponents and referees.



Set pieces and Formations


Aspects that help team organization

  1. Kick off
  2. Goal kick
  3. Throw in
  4. Corner kick
  5. Direct and indirect free kicks
  6. Penalty



7-a-side – GK-2-3-1

9-a-side –GK-4-3-1

11-a-side –  GK-4-3-3




Specific technical, tactical, physical and psychosocial goalkeeping aspects


  1. Ball Handling
  2. Dealing with Crosses
  3. Dives and Saves
  4. Footwork
  5. Positioning
  6. Shot stopping and blocking


  1. Agility and Reaction
  2. Coordination and Balance
  3. Flexibility
  4. Perception and awareness
  5. Strength and Power


  1. Throws and Distribution
  2. Support Play
  3. Controlling the Tempo


  1. Focus/Attention
  2. Decision/Determination
  3. Communication