EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Back me up, buddy

Teamwork is vital when the opposition has the ball and that means any player defending in a 1v1 situation should have a buddy behind him providing cover.

What this session is about

  1. 1v1 defending.
  2. Defending with a team mate in a 2v1 and 2v2.
  3. Making the forwards’ play predictable.

What to think about

Players should:

  • Decide which of them (two defenders) presses while the other stays goal-side and slightly to one side of his team mate. Defenders must not stand in a straight line because they cover less space and the one behind cannot see the attacker.
  • Make sure the covering player can make an effective challenge if first defender is beaten.
  • Channel attackers away from goal, either to the corners or sideways to the touchline.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Mark out an area with two target goals and a line of attackers, each with a ball, as in the top picture.

Two defenders start in the same half of the pitch as the goals while attackers start at the other end, and take turns to try and score in either of the two target goals in a 1v2.

Attackers must take at least two touches before they can shoot. Once the ball goes out of play or is shot in to a goal, defenders react immediately to the next attacker.

Play for a set time before repeating the drill with two new defenders, so that everyone has a go at being a defender.

To progress play 2v2 with one ball.

Two defenders protect two target goals from individual attackers.

Two defenders protect two target goals from individual attackers.


Development

Increase the size of the pitch and use two target goals at each end. Play 4v4 plus two neutral players who play for the team in possession.

Play 2v2 in each half, and limit one neutral player to either half, in effect creating a 3v2 in each half with no player being allowed to cross the halfway line.

If the ball goes out of play, the defending team in that half is allowed to play the ball without being challenged from either the goal line or touchline to its forwards.

To progress, allow the neutral players to switch roles with members of one team.

Two neutral players play for the team in possession but no one can leave their half, making the game two 3v2 situations.

Two neutral players play for the team in possession but no one can leave their half, making the game two 3v2 situations.


Game situation

Use the same size area and play a five-a-side game with a regular-size goal at either end.

Play normal rules, including offside, and encourage both sides to shoot at every opportunity because this will force players to close down their opponents as well as provide cover.

The team that scores most goals wins. Praise good defending and especially when it is done with a “buddy” as cover.

Encourage lots of shooting in a five-a-side game as this encourages good defending with cover.

Encourage lots of shooting in a five-a-side game as this encourages good defending with cover.


What to call out

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