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Soccer Skill Mechanics – Jockeying

An adolescent getting ready to kick a soccer ball. Link to a soccer preactice book for U9 to U12.
Soccer Jockeying Video
Soccer Jockeying Video Link

Very recently I was asked by two experienced soccer coaches how to teach players the mechanics of a particular soccer skill, one of them being defensive jockeying,

I was surprised because I thought coaches would know how to break down a skill into its mechanical elements, demonstrate to their players, and then correct them and show them how to improve that skill to perfection. So I explained jockeying but that wasn’t enough. I then demonstrated to show them what my words meant. We got into some discussion because one of them had learned something different. It then dawned on me that depending on the coach’s experience, their training, and their resource material, they may have different understandings of how a certain skill is executed.

When I got back home I researched the internet for specifics on defensive jockeying. To my surprise there were quite divergent views on how to jockey. I decided that the best way to convey the skill mechanics was through a well explained or at least well presented video. Again, I found material that was good, some that was completely wrong, and some I found good enough to pass on to interested coaches.

So what I will do is feature a soccer skill on our site with a brief explanation of the key elements and a link to the video I believe best represents that skill. Hopefully it will not only save you research time, but also give you the proper way of teaching the particular soccer skill.

Defensive Jockeying

Defensive jockeying can be from behind an attacker who is shielding the ball or from in front of an attacker who is trying to dribble past you.

The key principles of jockeying are:

  1. Distance to attacker – very close from behind, arm’s length from in front
  2. Body posture – crouched (knees bent) and at an angle
  3. Body position – between attacker and goal
  4. Eyes – on ball, not on body
  5. Goal – force attacker to the outside, away from the net
  6. Tip – the side line or goal line act like a defensive wall, pushing the attacker close to these lines severely limits their options.

Click on the picture above or this text link to access an excellent and short YouTube video:

Soccer Jockeying Video


1 thought on “Soccer Skill Mechanics – Jockeying

  1. Good article… Jockeying is an essential skill in soccer, that is often overlooked. All too often players will jump into a tackle when they could have simply jockeyed the player and moved them to a less dangerous position.

    Definitely a useful skill to learn,


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