INSPIRATION | CONFIDENCE | SUCCESS

Defend together

Improve your team’s ability to defend when under constant pressure from opposition attacks. Remember that when your rivals don’t have the ball, they can’t score a goal.

What this session is about

  1.  What you tell your players the session is about.
  2.  Defending our goal.
  3.  Playing as a team.
  4.  Doing your individual role for the team.

What to think about

Spanish giants Barcelona are regarded the best “pure” football team in the world currently and maybe of all time.

When TV pundits review the Barcelona style of play, they are fascinated to see how hard the team works off the ball to pressure the opponent as soon as it loses possession.

Indeed a rule under Pep Guardiola (ex-manager of Barcelona) was to regain the ball or force a mistake within five seconds of losing possession.

If the best team in the world works this hard in defence, it will give you and your players an insight into what you need to do to become a better team.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

One team defends while the other attacks.

To start, all players go inside one half. The goalkeeper passes the ball to the attackers who try to play a pass into the defending team’s half so they can run through and shoot at goal with just the keeper to beat.

This means the defending team must defend with a high-pressure style, i.e., squeeze upfield and use quick movement to cut out passes.

If the attacking team scores, all its players run into the opposite half, turn around to receive a ball to attack and try to score in the opposite direction.

Now the defending team is close to the goal it defends and must do so with low pressure (invite attackers to come forward and allow long balls) and then, as the attackers enter their area, defenders press with short, sharp movements.

In this game, the defending team always stays and work in the same half of the pitch. Swap teams so both defend and attack.

The defending team applies high pressure in the attacker’s half to try and thwart quick attacks.

The defending team applies high pressure in the attacker’s half to try and thwart quick attacks.


Development

Mark out an area with a goal at each end, as shown in the middle picture. Use two teams of six players, plus goalkeepers and two servers (S). One team defends while the other attacks.

Attackers receive balls from the two servers to attack and score.

Defenders try to defend their “home” which is the coned-off area around the goal. They can leave this area to press and tackle attackers, but the priority must be to block passes, dribbles and shots.

Shots must be from by attackers in the “home” area.

On regaining possession, the defending team should now explode into action by passing to the servers and breaking forward to receive a return pass to score.

The defending team “park the bus” in the coned-off area to stop goals being scored. They can score by bursting to the other goal.

The defending team “park the bus” in the coned-off area to stop goals being scored. They can score by bursting to the other goal.


Game situation

Play a small-sided game with “normal” rules, such as offside, corners and throw-ins, etc.

One team starts with a one goal lead in the match and now defends or keeps possession in order to win the game.

If the opponent scores a goal, the 1-0 lead is reversed.

The team that is winning 1-0 at the end of each period wins that period.

Either team always leads 1-0 and the focus is on defending that lead. If the opponent scores, they are 1-0 up and have to defend.

Either team always leads 1-0 and the focus is on defending that lead. If the opponent scores, they are 1-0 up and have to defend.


What to call out

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