To be a great fullback you need to not only be good at defending, but also know how to join the attack. Being comfortable on the ball is key. It’s important to keep practicing the fundamentals. In regards to mindset and personality you have to become a risk taker on offense, yet know your role is to defend first. In addition, you must be smart, which comes with knowing the danger zones and which skills you need to practice on your own.
Defending is your first job as a fullback
Knowing how to keep your team shape is crucial.
Example: When to tuck in, step up, drop off or get wide.
When your opponent gets the ball wide you must step quickly!
Try to stay on your feet and don’t get beat 1 on 1.
If your man/mark passes backwards or to the middle, you must immediately cover.
When your team loses possession you must get back and keep the numerical advantage.
Communicate with your other defenders, but also with the mids and forwards.
If you can tell your teammates in front of you which way to step [left or right] to cut off passes, not only will you stand out, but your team will be better.
How to be a risk taker
For high school players wanting to play in college it’s a must that you read this!
Years ago I say a video of the head coach for UCLA being interviewed on what incoming Freshman struggle with the most…
She said that fullbacks won’t make runs up the sideline enough…
After asking them why they don’t go up more and do give and goes the answer was “what if we lose the ball?”
Coaches response was “What if we don’t? We could score more goals if you become a risk taker.”
Give and go options
For an outside back [fullback] it’s vital that you become comfortable with the give and go.
One of the best ways to do this is obviously getting high reps during training.
This video shows a give and go drill, but for a fullback you can work on crossing instead of shooting.
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How to switch the field
Practice these 2 main ways!
- Receive with the back foot and pass with that same foot… One way you can take one step after the touch and pass and the other way you would take extra steps, not a specific number. The extra steps would allow you to look up and find your teammate.
- Receive with the back foot, take 3 steps and pass with the opposite foot. WATCH VIDEO BELOW.
Note: The red goal in the video has a small target to pass into…
So, it’s not a shooting drill.
We use the net to save us time when gathering the balls.
Crossing tips every fullback should know
There are 3 main ways to cross the ball.
- From the goal line you want to cross the ball back in front of goal [between 6 and 12 yards] in front of goal. It’s not easy!
- An early cross in behind the defenders when there is space to run onto.
- Early crosses in traffic up and over the first defender.
To be a smart player you have to know the danger zones.
Top fullbacks in the world
The thing that makes these players the best is their ability to control and pass the ball.
Of course they are good at defending, but being good on both sides of the ball is what sets them apart.
Currently top in the world
- Trent Alexander-Arnold
- Joshua Kimmich
- Achraf Hakimi
- Joao Cancelo
- Andy Robertson
- Jordi Alba
- Alphonso Davies
- Kyle Walker
- Dani Carvajal
- Cafu – RB
- Paolo Maldini – LB and CB
- Roberto Carlos – LB
- Franz Beckenbauer – Sweeper, but could play outside or CM due to skill
- Philipp Lahm – LB
- Dani Alves – RB
- Ashley Cole – LB
- Javier Zanetti – RB
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