Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time. We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.
This episode is easy so we’re looking at common football words and phrases. Things you use and need to know to play the game.
Learn more football vocabulary with Premier Skills English. Each lesson in our Premier Vocabulary section looks at one football word or phrase. This lesson looks at the word to mark.
You can find more lessons on the side of this page.
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich and welcome to Premier Skills English - Premier Vocabulary.
Jack: Hi there! I’m Jack. We’re here to help you with your football English. Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time.
Rich: We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.
Jack: This episode is easy so we’re looking at common football words and phrases. Things you use and need to know to play the game.
Rich: The word we are looking at in this episode is mark. The verb to mark has lots of meanings.
Jack: I love teaching but I hate marking - especially when I have lots of student essays to mark on a Sunday evening.
Rich: So mark can mean to correct or give a grade or mark to student work.
Jack: We can mark a symbol like a line or a cross on something to give more information about it.
Rich: The treasure on treasure maps is usually marked with an X. X marks the spot.
Jack: I don’t use treasure maps that often but yes, we might also mark a line on a wall or a bit of paper to show where we want to hang a picture or cut something. Prices are usually marked on things in shops.
Rich: There are other meanings too but we’re now going to concentrate on the meaning that is used in football.
Rich: To mark a player is connected to defending and it means to stay close to an opponent to stop them from getting the ball.
Jack: It’s especially important to mark opponents and defend when the opposition has a corner or free-kick in the penalty area.
Rich: Usually, most of the defending team will be trying to mark opposition players in this situation but it’s the manager who decides how the defence will mark before the match.
Jack: That’s because there are two main ways to mark. A team can decide to zonal mark or man mark which is also called man-to-man marking.
Rich: Man-to-man marking is when each defender marks one opposition player. This can happen at corners and free-kicks but may happen in other areas of the pitch.
Jack: For example, if an opponent has a very creative player the manager might tell a player to man-mark him. He will then follow the creative player around the pitch to stop him from getting the ball.
Rich: Players like Kevin De Bruyne or Lionel Messi are often man-marked.
Jack: The other main way of marking opponents is called zonal marking.
Rich: Zonal marking is when defenders mark a specific area of the pitch. When a player enters a defender's area it is the defender's responsibility to mark that player.
Jack: Do you think it’s better to use man-marking or zonal marking?
Rich: There is the final whistle!
Jack: We’ll be back soon with more Premier Vocabulary from Premier Skills English.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football.
Is it better to man mark or zonal mark at set pieces such as corners and free kicks?
Is it a good tactic to man mark the best player on the other team?