October 15, 2008 • Strategy
The offside trap can be a very useful tactic for a defending team if used properly and in moderation. It is meant to catch attacking players of the opposing team in an offside position. Let’s learn how it’s used along with the advantages and disadvantages that come with it.
During an offside trap, defenders must step forward at the same time in order to catch attacking players in an offside position. Because of this, the offside trap is best used with formations that do not utilize a sweeper. A sweeper hangs back behind the defenders, thus making it more difficult to use the offside trap.
Defenders must be able to read the play. There are two things they need to look out for. First, an attacking player will put his/her head down just before making a pass. Second, there will be one or more attacking players making a run. It is at this point that a defender must communicate with the others to step up just before the pass is made. Once the pass is made, the attacking player(s) will be called offside.
The offside trap may sound simple, but it is actually quite difficult. If the communication and timing of the defenders are not perfect, the chance for an attacking player to have a clear path towards goal is possible. If you think your team has perfected the offside trap, you will still run into the problem of a linesman and referee not making the correct call! And last but not least, if the offside trap is overused, the opposing team will learn and adapt their play to counter the trap. This can include attacking players holding their runs or the attacking player with the ball to dribble through the trap instead of making a pass.
If you decide to utilize the offside trap, it is important to constantly practice this tactic before using it in games.