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. Think Atletico Madrid and RB Leipzig who quickly drop into a compact shape when under attack – it works wonders for them.
Compactness can be defined as the tight positioning between teammates both vertically and horizontally. Compact teams are organised and well trained to keep their shape and work as an interconnected unit. The spaces between the players should be restricted, with the defence, midfield, and attack close enough to communicate with each other.
The shorter distances between individual players makes penetrative passes more difficult as the passing lanes are minimised, whilst multiple players can challenge the same through ball.
In most situations the optimal area to control is the centre of the pitch where most attacks will develop. It also offers a great platform to win which gives a greater range of potential movements whilst it offers the best platform to access alternative spaces.
It is a great tactic for youth teams because by using it they can control the game without the ball and make it almost impossible for the opposition to penetrate the defence. This forces teams to try long balls and crosses which a well organised team will find easier to defend.
It’s a new section of the website that we’ve developed to introduce and develop key principles of the game without limiting the amount of time players spend with a ball at their feet at training sessions.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve created a new lesson plan each week to deliver to your players online, building a valuable set of lessons for you to go back to time and again.
Soccer Coach Weekly subscribers can immediately access all the materials they need for the first 9 lessons including compactness:
I’ve just released my latest podcast Touchline Tales: Episode Two – Goalkeepers. This is a conversation with the goalkeeper coaches at my club and has some very good and interesting advice. It is hard to come up with ideas for warm ups and sessions for goalkeepers but also it isn’t easy to work on the mental side of coaching so listen out for some help in that area.
How well do you and your players know the Principles of Play? Give your players lessons online. This unique online class will help your players master the basic tactics and skills used in one of the Defending Principles of Play – Compactness MORE
In this podcast Dave Clarke talks to Go4Goal lead coach and head goalkeeper coach Jon Lewis and goalkeeper coach Salvador Espinosa about a whole heap of coaching things, including return to play, best practice and why it helps to be a little bit crazy!: MORE
I cannot second guess when we will all be out of this strange way of coaching with no opposed sessions but hopefully it will be fairly soon. To that end I continually remind myself that I will be going back to getting my players warmed up in a different way to how I am doing it at the moment. MORE
At the younger age groups I have always found it a difficult job filling the position of goalkeeper. I've done various things, put my own son in goal, had two goalkeepers so one half they play outfield the other in goal but were never subbed – it helped but didn't totally solve the problem. So what do you do? MORE
What the return to play rules allows me to do is to concentrate on certain aspects of the game in a different way. Normally with shooting I would play small sided games with plenty of chances to score but always with pressure from defenders. MORE
I went back to coaching last week, although it was a strange form of coaching! It does take time to sort out the players, but having created 'safe' areas 2m apart where the players could put drinks, sanitiser and their bags so they could safely have a drink during training it made it an easier practice. MORE
Tonight I'm back with my Under 10s to get training back on track with some social distancing sessions. My head is full of car park instructions, drop offs, pick ups, sanitisers and 2 metre distances! But it will be great to see all the players again. My plans will be simple sessions for the small groups I am coaching MORE
“I took a free trial and I was blown away by the drills; it made my training sessions so much easier. ”