INSPIRATION | CONFIDENCE | SUCCESS

Defending – as easy as 1, 2, 3

A good understanding between defenders is crucial and this practice develops their appreciation of the positions they must take up relative to each other, the attackers and the ball.

What this session is about

  1. Applying basic principles of defending.
  2. Making play predictable.
  3. Working together to stop attackers breaking through the defence.

What to think about

When defending as a unit, players take different roles depending on where the attackers move the ball.

The nearest defender puts pressure on the ball.

The second defender provides cover at an angle and “goal side” (between the goal and the attacker he is marking), and in a position to challenge if the first defender is beaten.

The third defender adds depth, covering the back post area.

Set-up

Mark out a playing area 30 yards from the goal line and the width of the six-yard box. Within that area, mark out a 5m zone at the opposite end to the goal line. Play three defenders against two attackers in the large area, with one server in the 5m zone and a goalkeeper in goal.

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10-15 minutes15 minutes10-15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

The server (S), who has the freedom to move in his zone but cannot leave it, starts an attack by passing to one of the two attackers in the large area.

If the defenders win the ball or it leaves the playing area, the server begins the move again.

Rotate players so everyone has a turn defending, attacking and being the server.

The server (S) plays the ball to one of the attackers to begin an attack.

The server (S) plays the ball to one of the attackers to begin an attack.


Development

Once the server has started the attack, they can join in and become a third attacker.

The server (S) joins the attackers to give defenders a greater challenge.

The server (S) joins the attackers to give defenders a greater challenge.


Game situation

Play 4v4 with two keepers in an area 30 yards by 20 yards.

Play a 4v4 game with the emphasis on defenders communicating and being aware of the attackers’ likely movements.

Play a 4v4 game with the emphasis on defenders communicating and being aware of the attackers’ likely movements.


What to call out

  • “Work with each other”
  • “Think about your changing role – the ball’s moved so are you now marking a man or space? Remember: the closer to the ball or goal you are, the closer you have to be to an opponent”
  • “Keep compact”
  • “Give simple, clear instructions to each other – “close the ball”, “cover me”, “get closer”, “force them down the line” – and act quickly”
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