INSPIRATION | CONFIDENCE | SUCCESS

Beat the defender

By practising taking on a defender, not only will players acquire basic dribbling skills, they’ll also learn they won’t be successful with every attempt, which is an important step towards giving them the confidence to try things in a match while removing the fear of failure.

What this session is about

  1. Improving dribbling skills and close control.
  2. Changing direction with the ball.

What to think about

Players looking to take on a defender must:

  • Keep the ball within playing distance.
  • Slow down as they approach the defender.
  • Use body feints and deceptive foot movements – try tricks, e.g. Robinho stepover.
  • Commit the defender with a change of direction, then accelerate past him.
  • Use the inside and outside of each foot.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes15 minutes5 minutes

What you get your players to do

Mark out an area with a five-yard “river” across the centre, as shown in the top picture. A defender (or “crocodile”) is restricted to the river only. The remaining players have a ball each and start on one end line.

The aim is to dribble to the other end line without being tackled by the defender. A player is out if tackled (in the river) and their ball has been kicked out of the area. Successful dribblers repeat the drill from the other end. The winner is the last player with a ball. Repeat the drill from the start with a different defender.

To progress, if a player makes it to the end line, he must do a sharp turn and come straight back across the river without hesitation.

To progress again, repeat the drill but with two defenders.

A “crocodile” tries to win players balls in the “river”. The last player with a ball wins.

A “crocodile” tries to win players balls in the “river”. The last player with a ball wins.


Development

Now play 2v2, but replace the five-yard river with an odd number of balls. Teams line up at opposite ends. On your signal, the first player in each team runs to the balls and dribbles one back and stops it on his team’s own end line. Then the second player goes. The team with the most balls on its end line wins.

To progress, one player from each time starts on the halfway line. They will dribble a ball towards the opposite team’s end. Team mates will act as defenders to stop the attackers from reaching the end line.

Attackers have to run around the outside of the pitch back to the halfway line to collect the next ball. Again, the team with the most balls on their end line wins. Then players switch roles.

Players from each team try to dribble a ball to the end line, beating a defender on the way.

Players from each team try to dribble a ball to the end line, beating a defender on the way.


Game situation

Play 4v4 in an area with four cone gate goal zones in the corners and one in the centre as shown in the bottom picture. The goal zones should be no larger than five yards square and can be made smaller to make scoring harder.

The aim is for players to dribble into the zones to score a goal. The player scoring is then allowed to make an unopposed pass to a team mate to continue the game.

Use a pass-in when the ball goes out of play and the team that scores most goals wins.

Players try to dribble a ball into a cone goal zone to score a goal.

Players try to dribble a ball into a cone goal zone to score a goal.


What to call out

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