Mapi Leon Arms Behind Back Defending

Spain’s Olga Carmona wants to close down England’s Georgia Stanway but she’s also concerned about Lauren Hemp breaking out wide, so she hesitates. Spain’s Mapi Leon too is holding back on closing Stanway down. It’s Hemp’s run down the line that really frees up Stanway to take the shot.

But what’s strange is how Leon has her arms behind her back so early on while defending as Stanway dribbles up the soccer field. I say dribbling up, but it’s more like charging towards the goal. It’s all happening quite fast, remember. Defending with one’s arms behind the back though just doesn’t look right. It seems like it would only slow Leon down and prevent her from defending effectively. Blocking a shot. Forcing the attacker to think or put their head down for a moment.

Leon though is a brilliant player and tireless defender, Carlos Puyol like in her intensity. However, it does seems like a strange habit to have your arms behind your back while trying to defend. Yes, it’s to avoid a penalty kick call if a shot goes off her arm but wouldn’t she be better able to move laterally and or block a shot with her arms free?

Putting one’s arms behind your back while defending is done in men’s and women’s professional soccer. Some of the best defenders in the world do it. Chelsea’s Thiago Silva often puts his arms behind his back when defending. Is it really worth it? Not sure why it’s still taught to young soccer players as something they should do. See Stanway’s goal and Mapi Leon arms behind back defending in the video below.