Defending against overloads

Defending against overloads can happen whether your team is in an organised or disorganised state. You can plan defending when organised much easier than when you are defending disorganised.

When faced with situations like counter attacks there are many things to think about. Often it is down to the individual to make the right decision of how and when to press the player on the ball, mindful that any movement leaves players free for a pass that could end up in the net.

If you managed to see the game between probably the best team in Europe at the moment, Manchester City and the Premier League newcomers Leeds United you saw a masterclass in how to defend when outnumbered – Leeds had a man sent off and played the whole of the second half with 10 men against the might of City with 11 men.

Also in that match City were caught out and lost the game when they were caught out on the counter attack. Clever attackers are difficult to control when you are defending outnumbered.

Try the sessions below to help your team when they are outnumbered and they also give you some great activities for your training nights.

Start with a game that gives an overload to the attackers so your defenders have to work hard and support each other against the overload. Defending in small groups is the perfect session to get your team started on defending principles.

Then you can target specific ways to play in overload situations – 3v2, 2v1 – that occur in every match your team plays. Attacking overloads is a great way to get players working in these small group games; it’s one I use throughout the season with my team.

And don’t forget to make it fun… Multi ball game is an exciting activity where players work in small groups that build up into a small-sided game from 1v1, 2v1, 2v2 and so on. It keeps your players thinking about how and where to defend, depending on how many support players they have.

Finally, give your players a good workout in pressing and winning the ball back, which is key to creating counter-attack situations. Hunters is a great fun game that gets players working hard in small groups to win the ball and turn the tables on their opponents.

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