Not every soccer team uses a formation employing a right wing back. But those that do may do so with great effect, such as Real Madrid’s use of Roberto Carlos to romp up and down the entire right edge of the field, from an area level with the defense through the midfield and all the way up the opponent’s goal. Brazil seems to produce indefatigable wingbacks, with Cafu and Dani Alves also fitting the bill. You can use specific techniques to train yourself as a right wing back, says Wes Harvey, former coach of the men’s soccer team at Morgan State University in Baltimore.
Practice passing the ball at a distance of 20 yards or more with a partner so you have a strong right foot for passing and shots. Normally, the right foot is the dominant foot for most players. “You need to know how to use your right foot, because when facing your goal, you are trying to push the attackers wide,” Harvey says. You want to steer attackers away from the center of the field, take away control of the ball and tap it up the right side of the field.
Conduct overlapping runs, where you move upfield past the midfield if your speed permits. Just before you reach the opponent’s goal line, cross the ball in. Ask your coach if she wants you to do more than cross it, Harvey says. Other options include continuing in for a shot and cutting the ball back on the ground toward the penalty area for a teammate to run on for a shot attempt.
Stand on the touch line and throw the ball inbounds, working to achieve distance and control. Use a soccer medicine ball to increase your strength. A soccer medicine ball resembles a regular soccer ball in stitching and appearance but weighs more. “You need to know how to do throw-ins, because you can’t have your midfield doing the throw-ins,” Harvey says, alluding to the need to have the midfielders stay in bounds to receive the throw-in.
Perform squats and lunges to increase your leg strength and practice your kicking technique to send the ball far with a powerful kick. “You have to have enough leg strength to get the ball out of your half of the field if you can,” Harvey says. “If your coach wants you to clear the ball, if that is what the plan is, learn how to send the ball.” If your coach stresses possession, focus instead during practices and games on keeping the ball on the ground and passing it carefully to a teammate.
- BBC Sport: Positions Guide: Wing-Back
- Zonal Marking; Daniel Alves: More Than a Right-Back; January 2011
- Wes Harvey; Soccer Coach; Baltimore