Wake up at the back!

Defending can be a waiting game for teams that play a good attacking game and dominate the opposition. How do you keep them alert, organised and ready to drop back, recover and defend a counter attack or long ball over the top?

I find that having an organised defence is essential to controlling the game and making sure the counter punch doesn’t catch my teams out.

Even at 7v7 when I have two defenders covering the back line they can easily get drawn into supporting the attack and leave a vast area of space behind them that teams can counter into.

So that means defending should be taken seriously and the art of defending should not get lost in the trend towards focusing on attack.

Covering play, defending corners, 1v1s, 2v1s, keeping shape and reacting to counter attacks should all be part of your coaching schedule. I have included some sessions to help you.

How to defend overloads as an individual and Screen positions show how a pivot player sits in the screen position, which shields the defence. The beauty of the session is the simple way a young player can learn the role, and it has a great graphic that will help your players understand.

Now focus on the art of centre-backs in your defence. How to defend at corners and Team shape via central defenders take the defenders into situations that require them to concentrate on maintaining their positions. The defending a corner session should be a blueprint for defending any set pieces in and around the area.

Finally, a good way of getting players to recognise their responsibilities within the defensive structure is to get them out of position then with something like a counter attack see if they know where to get back to in order to defend their goal. Position decisions is one of my favourite sessions for this.

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