Mastering Soccer Outside Back Position: Tips and Techniques

Soccer is a dynamic sport, and the outside back position is no exception. The Soccer Outside back plays a vital role in both defense and attack. They are responsible for covering the flanks, providing width in attack, and defending against the opposition’s wingers.

As such, outside backs need to have a well-rounded skillset to perform their duties effectively. In this article, we’ll explore the tips and techniques that can help players master the outside back, support, football boots-606235.jpg

Soccer Outside Back Position

Outside backs, also known as fullbacks or wingbacks, play a crucial role in a soccer team. Their primary function is to defend the flanks of the pitch and support the attack by providing width. They need to be versatile and skilled in both defense and attack. Outside backs are responsible for:

  • Defending against opposition wingers and preventing them from crossing the ball into the box.
  • Providing width and support in the attack by overlapping with midfielders or forwards.
  • Winning the ball back in defense and initiating counter-attacks.
  • Maintaining possession by making accurate passes and moving the ball up the field.

Defensive Techniques for Outside Backs

As an outside back, it’s essential to have good defensive skills. Here are some techniques that can help you defend effectively:


Positioning is the most important aspect of defense for outside backs. They need to be aware of their surroundings and position themselves correctly to intercept passes and prevent opposition attacks. The outside back should:

  • Stay narrow to prevent the opposition from playing through the middle.
  • Stay close to the touchline to prevent the opposition from exploiting the space behind them.
  • Stay in line with the other defenders to maintain the offside trap.


Tackling is another crucial aspect of defense for outside backs. A well-timed tackle can prevent a dangerous opposition attack. When tackling as an outside back, keep the following in mind:

  • Time your tackle carefully, as mistiming it can lead to a foul or a penalty.
  • Aim for the ball, not the player.
  • Use your body to block the opposition and prevent them from making a run.

One-on-One Defense

One-on-one situations can be challenging for outside backs, as they need to prevent the opposition from getting past them. To defend effectively in one-on-one situations, follow these tips:

  • Stay on your feet and don’t dive in, as this can leave you vulnerable.
  • Jockey the opposition and force them to make a mistake.
  • Keep your distance and avoid getting too close, as the opposition can use this to their advantage.

soccer outside back

Attacking Techniques for Outside Backs

Outside backs play a crucial role in providing width and support in attack. Here are some attacking techniques that can help you contribute to your team’s attack:

Overlapping Runs

Overlapping runs are a great way for outside backs to provide width and support in attack. When making an overlapping run, keep the following in mind:

  • Time your run carefully to avoid being offside.
  • Communicate with your teammates to ensure they know where you are and can pass to you.
  • Be aware of the opposition’s defensive line to avoid getting caught offside.


Crossing is an essential skill for outside backs. A well-placed cross can create scoring opportunities for your team. Here are some tips to improve your crossing:

  • Practice crossing with both feet to improve your accuracy.
  • Look up before crossing to assess your options.
  • Vary your crosses, using both low and high crosses to keep the opposition guessing.

Attacking Play

The outside back position is not only about defending, but it also requires a certain level of attacking prowess. Outside backs are expected to contribute to their team’s attack by overlapping their teammates on the flanks and creating scoring opportunities.

One important skill for attacking outside backs is the ability to cross the ball into the box. A good cross can create goal-scoring chances for the forwards or result in an own goal from the opposing team.

Outside backs should work on their crossing technique, which involves striking the ball with the right amount of power, swerve, and accuracy. They should also learn to vary the type of cross they make, such as a driven cross, a lofted cross, or a curled cross.

Another aspect of attacking play for outside backs is the ability to make overlapping runs. Overlapping runs are when the outside back runs past the winger or attacking midfielder on their side of the field to receive the ball in a more advanced position.

This creates space for the winger or attacking midfielder to cut inside and take a shot on goal or create a scoring opportunity for their teammates.


Counter-attacks are a crucial aspect of modern soccer and outside backs play a significant role in them. When the opposing team loses possession of the ball, the outside backs should quickly move forward to provide support to their teammates who have possession.

They should be alert and ready to receive the ball and make quick passes to keep the counter-attack going.

Possession Play

Possession play is another important aspect of modern soccer, and outside backs play a vital role in it. When their team has possession of the ball, outside backs should position themselves in a way that allows them to receive the ball from their teammates and make quick, accurate passes to keep the ball moving forward.

They should also be able to read the game and anticipate their teammates’ movements to ensure they are always in a position to receive the ball.[1]

Famous Outside Backs

Over the years, there have been many famous outside backs who have left their mark on the game. One of the most famous is Brazilian defender Cafu, who played for the Brazilian national team and several top European clubs. Cafu was known for his incredible stamina, attacking prowess, and defensive skills.

Another famous outside back is Dutch legend Phillip Cocu. Cocu played for both the Netherlands national team and several top European clubs, including Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven. He was known for his versatility, intelligence, and ability to read the game. (1)


Q: What is the difference between a fullback and a wingback?

A: A fullback typically plays a more defensive role and is responsible for marking the opposing team’s wingers and blocking their crosses.

A wingback, on the other hand, plays a more attacking role and is expected to contribute to their team’s attack by making overlapping runs and crossing the ball into the box.

Q: How can I improve my one-on-one defending as an outside back?

A: One-on-one defending requires good positioning, anticipation, and timing. To improve your one-on-one defending skills, you should work on your footwork, stay low, and try to force the attacker to go in a certain direction. You should also anticipate the attacker’s movements and time your tackles carefully.

Q: Who is considered the greatest outside back of all time?

A: That is a matter of opinion, but many soccer fans consider Brazilian defender Roberto Carlos to be the greatest outside back of all time. Carlos was known for his incredible speed, powerful free kicks, and attacking prowess. He won multiple titles with both the Brazilian national team and top European clubs like Real Madrid.


Mastering the outside back position in soccer takes time, effort, and dedication. It requires a combination of defensive and offensive skills, as well as the ability to read the game and make quick decisions. However, with the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can start improving your game and become a top-class outside-back.

Remember, the key to success is practice. Spend time on the training ground working on your defensive positioning, one-on-one defending, and attacking runs. Watch footage of top-class outside backs and try to replicate their techniques in your own game. By doing so, you will develop the skills and knowledge needed to excel in this challenging position.