One of the most important topics in defensive play is compactness. A key principle of compactness is that the playing area of the opposition is minimised so there is less space for them to attack in. Give your players a lesson in compactness MORE
Defending in a group (U14 activity)
Defending in a group
WORK THE BACK FOUR
“One player goes to the ball” • “Support your team mate” • “Move across to cover space” • “Watch the angle of attack and respond”
Use half an 11-a-side pitch with a goal for the second part of the session. In the first part players are walking through the defending positions in a back four.
Line the players up in a flat back four, with no opposition. The coach moves the ball around in front of the defence in order to ensure players adapt their position depending on where the ball is.
Walk through each position of the ball so that the defenders know what to do when supporting play.
If the ball is on the right wing, the leftback presses and the three other defenders move across to cover, up to a point where the rightback adopts the right centrehalf’s position.
If the ball is switched to the other side, the roles reverse, so the left-back comes as far across as the left centre-half’s position.
Now use this rehearsed defensive structure, in opposed play, using a 6v4 set-up. Midfielders are encouraged to constantly switch play to ensure defenders can act on the principles learnt in the initial phase.
If a goal is scored, an attack intercepted, or the ball goes dead, the attacking team restarts play near the halfway line.
How many players do I need?
You need 11 players for this activity.