Wasting Time

There’s only minutes left to play, but you have a 1 goal lead. Besides playing good defense, is there anything else you can do to keep that lead? For many coaches and players, the strategy of “wasting time” becomes an integral part of the game at this point. But how do you waste time the right way?

This is probably one of the worst things I’ve seen, especially in professional soccer. Many times  players will fall to the ground rolling around in agony as if they were shot. Some fall on their own complaining of cramps or pulled muscles, all to waste time. However, this is one of the worst strategies to use since referees will add extra time for injuries, which results in a longer game than expected.

The first thing many coaches turn to is the use of substitutions as a way to delay a game. Players will purposely walk off the field slowly. However, be careful with this since referees are accustomed to this strategy and will card players if they take too long. Referees may also stop time during substitutions if they get to be numerous, realizing that they are being used to waste time. But, for those players that stay on the field, at least it provides a quick breather and breaks up the momentum of the game, especially during those intense last few minutes.

When your team restarts the game with a kick-in or throw-in, this is another area where you can waste some time. Players can take their time retrieving the ball and putting it back in play. Again, be careful with this since referees are accustomed to this strategy and will card players if they take too long.

Possessing the game is probably one of the best ways of wasting time. Having possession of the ball puts you in control. The opposing team can’t score if they don’t have the ball (usually)! The opposing team has no choice but to work extra hard and take risks in order to retain possession. By doing so, they may leave themselves vulnerable, providing a scoring chance for your team.

Keeping possession can also involve working the ball into the opposing team’s defensive end and holding it there. Opposing players will get frustrated and may end up fouling you which can end up in a free kick. Depending on where that free kick is, you may or may not want to shoot. Instead, you may want to retain possession.

Feel free to leave comments on your techniques for time wasting and how successful they are!