Supporting defender soccer drill

Coach players to improve their understanding of covering and support skills between team-mates with the help of this soccer (football) drill and soccer coaching tips.
If you're facing a team where the attackers are getting good support from the wings, you need your defenders to support each other to deal with the threat. The supporting defender is vital for cutting off attacking options.

What players must think about in this soccer drill

  • The soccer drill begins slowly to include communication, then moves into active participation of supporting your team-mate before developing into a game situation.

  • In the first part of the soccer coaching drill session, you can divide the area into two to enable more players to participate at the same time.
  • The supporting defender takes a position behind and inside the first defender.

Soccer drill to get defenders understanding support play skills

How to run the soccer drill

For this soccer drill set up a 30×20 yard area and add a 5 yard end zone. Split the area down the middle with a row of cones.

To begin the drill, the defender passes to the attacker and must stop the attacker from dribbling into the end zone. The supporting defender must give verbal support such as: “get tight,” “stand up,” “force wide” etc.

Develop the soccer drill

  • Now the defenders work together in a 2v1 situation against the attacker. The first defender must pressure the attacker whilst the team-mate covers and uses support skills.

  • After the ball has been played, a second attacker enters the pitch and the defensive roles are switched. The pressuring defender now covers and supports whilst the previous covering defender has a turn at pressuring.

Turn the drill into a game

  • Run the soccer drill as above but with the addition of a goalkeeper and goal. Now the attackers can shoot from distance so there is extra pressure on the defenders to get across quickly.

  • The goalkeeper can provide additional support, communicating with both defenders.

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Click here for a soccer drill to encourage support play as it moves up the pitch.