Should You Man-Mark or Zone-Mark in Indoor Soccer?

Choosing whether you want your team or man mark or zone mark in indoor soccer is a very tough decision, and depends on several factors. It’s a very important decision to make however, because it can easily win or lose you games!

First of all, if you have an inexperienced or unskilled team, you definitely want to man mark. Zone marking requires finesse and skill to switch gracefully between marks and make sure that everyone is always adequately covered. Unskilled teams will inevitably mess this up and goals will certainly result - and lots of them!

You should also definitely use man marking if your team hasn’t played together much before or doesn’t have much communication in general. Communication and team chemistry are vital to zone marking, because it requires constant switching between attackers that you’re marking. Your defence needs to be vocal and they have to be able to predict what the other defender(s) are likely to do to ensure that zone marking works. If you’re not sure about any of this, go for man marking! Also, if your midfielders aren't great, use man marking. If you want to make your bad midfielders good, check out this article on how to play midfield in indoor soccer!

Man marking is a great strategy for most teams. When you man mark, each of your players picks one of the players on the opposing team and always stays with them. This means that there is no confusion about who is marking who. It allows you to just focus on one man instead of trying to spread your attention around.

Of course, you can also switch men when you’re man marking, if it makes sense. But usually you switch back quickly, after the play is over. A good time to do this is if you get beat by your man - tell another defender to pick your man up, and you can take theirs. One thing that's vital if you're constantly turning and changing direction is good indoor cleats - just remember that!

Zone marking can be hugely effective if your team knows what it’s doing. This is when each of your players marks a zone or area instead of a man. This means that they can be covering multiple men - or 0 men! In this setup, you’re responsible for taking control of the ball if it enters your zone, instead of if it goes to your man.

The reason zone marking is effective is that it often frees up one of your players to be open when you take possession, because there might not be someone on the other team in their zone. It also requires less stamina, because you stay in a small area rather than chasing your player around the field.

Of course, zone marking has an exception as well. If you can’t get the ball away from the player(s) in your zone, others on your team can come to help you out!

Now that you know about zone and man marking, get out on the field and try it out! I promise it’s worth it!