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Perfect Defending

67 easy-to-coach drills for marking, tackling and blocking

Introduce and develop defensive skills, both individually and as a group, with a collection of 67 easy-to-coach soccer drills to teach marking, tackling and blocking.


Coaching Manual (PDF)

Age: 8-11, 11-16, Adult


Skill level: All

Full Description

Perfect Defending is the ultimate resource for coaches who want to introduce and develop defensive skills and techniques in their training sessions without losing player interest.

The 67 drills and games in Perfect Defending cover the complete range of defending skills and techniques to help your defenders improve in every department:

  • Marking
  • Tackling
  • Blocking
  • Jockeying
  • Positioning
  • Forcing the direction of play
  • Clearances 
  • Recovery runs. The drills are divided into 5 categories:
  • Individual Defending
  • Defending In Twos
  • Defending In Small Groups
  • Team Defending
  • Fun Defending games

Individual Defending gives players a chance to practice the core defending skills. This forms an obvious starting point for young or inexperienced players but is also extremely valuable for older players who tend to lose focus on these vital skills over time.

Defending in Twos, Defending in Small Groups and Team Defending provide different challenges as your players learn to take the core skills into more competitive and match-like scenarios.

Fun Defending Games gives a few ideas for ways to challenge your players with a light-hearted edge. These games are perfect to introduce in your training session when your players show signs of fatigue or a loss of concentration.

Building from individual defending to team defending in this way, players are able to constantly refine their understanding of the roles and responsibilities in defensive positions.

Players will learn how their position and the position of their team-mates can be used to neutralize an attack and give their team the greatest possible chance of winning back possession.

Clever Design

Each page follows the same format:

Introduction – An explanation of the drill and the skills and techniques it focuses on.

The set up – Shows everything you’ll need to run the drill from the size of the area to the number of balls and cones.

The steps – All of the movements and components of the drill, explained in plain English. Large text makes everything easy to read, even in driving rain and wind.

What to call out – Three handy phrases per drill, never be short of something to say to encourage and educate your players.

Key – Makes sure you can differentiate between runs, dribbles and passes in the illustrations.

Category – Five groups: Individual defending, defending in twos, defending in groups, team defending, and fun defending games.

Illustrations – One for each of the steps means that you can easily visualise the sequence of movements that are involved in each drill.

Captions – Underline what’s happening in each illustration.

Slide Tackle & Block Tackle Technique

The manual also includes a step-by-step guide to executing two of the defender’s most valuable moves, the block tackle and the slide tackle to print and distribute to your players.

“This manual is superbly designed and illustrated with easy to understand instructions and diagrams to match. I am sure that it will help to create fun and educational sessions that will feed your players' enthusiasm for the game.”

- Keith Boanas, Surrey County FA Head Coach

Perfect Defending is an instant reference and the only source of inspiration you’ll need for introducing defending as a regular feature of your training sessions.

It will take the chore out of struggling for new ideas, perfect for coaches who are running weekly sessions and struggling to balance the time needed to prepare for training with the constant demands of modern life.

What’s more, if you can’t make a session you can give the book to a parent or assistant safe in the knowledge that even novice and beginner coaches will be able to run the drills.

Product testimonials

“I'm Director of Coaching at Grange Thistle Football Club and have approx. 650 players between 6 and 16 with 60 coaches.

I've passed on different drills from the book to coaches to suit their needs with respect to ages and all of them have commented on how much better their teams are defending as individuals and as a team.

I love how the drills move from small games, 1v1, 2v2 up to full squad drills. The diagrams are easy to follow and understand as you have small notes to explain each step as well. All in all a must for all coaches along with Football Attack!

Finally, I don't know if we are winning more games but we are definitely playing better football and the kids look forward to training as the sessions are fun interesting and above all teaching them the skills to play better football.”

- Brynn Partington, Director of Coaching, Grange Thistle FC, UK

Customer Reviews

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Perfect Defending
By blue52, 8th February 2011

Great book. Top marks to the publisher.