EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Defending as a back four

This session is designed to improve the individual players within your defence and the defence as a unit. The practices cover key aspects such as pressuring techniques, cover and support positions and the shape of the defence in relation to the ball.

What this session is about

  1. The shape of the defence.
  2. Who is going to pressure the ball?
  3. What positions do the other defenders take up?

What to think about

This session develops the shape and positioning of your defenders. The practice can also be used for a midfield four or defensive/midfield three.

The pressuring defender must make sure they are not square to the attacker with the ball. This means adopting a slightly angled approach which directs the player with the ball towards the defender’s covering team mates.

Covering defenders should position themselves behind and to the side of the pressing defender.

Set-up

  • 20 x 30yd area for the session, increasing to a 40 x 30yd area for the development and game.
Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes15 minutes5 minutes

What you get your players to do

The coach calls out a number identifying the position of the ball.

The defender called must go and pressure the mannequin/pole/cone.

The other three defenders must take up a correct covering position in relation to the ball’s position.

The coach calls a number, that player pressures while the other defenders take up the correct covering positions.

The coach calls a number, that player pressures while the other defenders take up the correct covering positions.


Development

Now the defenders must defend the line and stop the passing team from playing the ball from one side to the other.

One defender is allowed to go and pressure the passing team. The other players must take up their support and cover positions.

The outside players pass the ball using two touches, one grey player pressures, whilst the others stop a forward pass.

The outside players pass the ball using two touches, one grey player pressures, whilst the others stop a forward pass.


Game situation

The coach calls out the number of the attacker, immediately the first attacker dribbles and tries to score in a 1v4 situation. The defenders must win possession from the attacker.

Once completed the coach calls out the number of the 2nd attacker who dribbles onto the pitch and combines with the previous attacker in a 2v4 situation.

The game continues until it’s a 4v4 situation.

The attacker called dribbles and tries to score a goal, the defenders must stop the attacker.

The attacker called dribbles and tries to score a goal, the defenders must stop the attacker.


What to call out

  •  “Pressure quickly and at match speed”
  •  “Get into a support or covering position”
  •  “React to the next call”
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