The through pass, if it leaves your defenders looking behind them at the attacker running free towards the goalkeeper, is a killer pass. Use the following soccer coaching tips and drills to help your defenders block or cover the pass.
Soccer tips to help your players defend
Coaching young players in the art of defending is a hard skill to teach. It’s one of the areas that gets soccer coaches shouting “cover” or “block” or “cut that pass out!” And it's often frustrating because the players on the pitch haven’t a clue what the coach means. The reason they don’t know is because the coach hasn’t shown them in soccer training how to cut out or block passes.
Soccer drill to get defenders covering passes
You can work on this soccer drill with your players in coaching sessions.
Soccer skills you need to get your players working on:
- Approaching the ball at a slight angle;
- Angle of cover and distance;
- Jockeying the ball;
Run the soccer drill
- Defender passes out to an attacker.
- Defenders must follow ball out to mark attackers.
- Attackers can only have three touches and must cross the line of cones before they can pass to attacker 3 who must stay between two cones at end of pitch.
- Defenders must move to block passes to attacker 3.
- Body positioning and angle of approach to the ball is important.
- Angle of cover and distance in relation to the ball, team-mate and opponents is important.
- Defenders should stay on their feet by jockeying the ball.
- Communication between team-mates is necessary to make the pass and cover situations work.
How to change the soccer drill
- Tell your attackers to have as many touches of the ball as they like.
- Encourage attackers to make crossover and diagonal runs to create more difficulty for the defenders.
Click here for a soccer drill to get your players defending as a unit.
If you would like more easy-to-coach soccer drills targeted at defending skills, click here to order a copy of Perfect Defending.