A cover is a defensive tactical principle whereby a player who is in a position close to a team-mate offers him help in the event that he is overrun by the opponent, i.e. he supports him in his defensive tasks and takes over his duties. Covering covers all the movements and positions that make it possible to provide this assistance.
The players who provide cover must be in a position close to the team-mate who intends to tackle the player in possession of the ball. In this way, in the event that he has not been able to snatch the ball, one of them can try to stop him and steal it.
The team that manages to cover well will be very difficult to beat, which is why training in this tactical principle is essential. Only in this way will the players carrying out the covers know how much distance they have to keep from the team-mates around them, and thus be able to act as quickly as possible.
Any player on the pitch can provide cover, i.e. it is not only the task of the defenders, although they must obviously pay more attention, as they are the last barrier separating the opponent from the goal.
Fundamental aspects of hedging
The player providing cover must be closer to the goal than the player to whom he is going to offer it. This position must also allow him to act as quickly as possible, just at the precise moment when his team-mate has been overtaken by the opponent.
In addition, he must pay special attention to the play without losing sight of the ball and be able to intercept deep passes, intervening when his team-mate is overrun. He must also be aware of all the actions of his opponents and have the ability to act quickly both in his movements and in his decision making.
Thanks to the covers, players will have constant support from their teammates, defensive play is kept under control, and a swap can be carried out with the player who has been covered.
In addition to all this, the opponent will find it much more difficult to overcome specific lines, it favours teamwork, reduces free spaces, provides security in the event of a team-mate’s possible mistake and can even be a great opportunity to initiate a counter-attack in the event that the ball has been stolen.