EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Feel the force

Teach your players how to defend in 1v1 situations and force attackers away from goal. This will help your team concede fewer goals.

What this session is about

  1. 1v1 defending.
  2. Forcing attackers away from goal.
  3. Making your opponent’s play predictable.

What to think about

Defenders must:

  • Get their body between the attacker and target.
  • Consider the speed and angle of approach.
  • Be balanced, edge in slowly in the last few yards.
  • Stay within touching distance of the opponent.
  • Get their body slightly side-on and crouch a little.
  • Stay on their feet.
  • Win the ball if possible.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes15-20 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Mark out a square within a larger square. Four attackers start on the perimeter of the outer square, one on each side and each with a ball. Four defenders are positioned on the edges of the smaller square.

Defenders must protect the square and stop attackers entering. To begin, defenders are passive. Restart the activity each time one attacker dribbles into the area. Teams switch roles after a set time.

To progress, allow defenders to try and tackle attackers. Any attacker that loses possession must begin again from the outer square.

Now make it competitive. The team that completes the most successful dribbles into the square wins.

Attackers try to dribble the ball from the outer square to the inner square past their defender in a 1v1.

Attackers try to dribble the ball from the outer square to the inner square past their defender in a 1v1.


Development

Set up an area with two cone goals at diagonally opposite corners. Split your players into two groups (defenders versus attackers), who stand diagonally opposite each other at the corners that don’t have the goals.

Play a series of 1v1s. The defender passes the ball to the attacker then moves to defend the goal that is directly opposite the attacker, which the attacker must try to dribble through.

Once the ball is out of play, each player joins the back of the opposite queue to switch roles.

To progress, the attacker can now also dribble across the whole of the opposite end line, although more points must be awarded for dribbling through the cone goal.

Each attacker tries to dribble the ball through the cone goal opposite but faces a 1v1 with an incoming defender.

Each attacker tries to dribble the ball through the cone goal opposite but faces a 1v1 with an incoming defender.


Game situation

Set up an area with a goal and keeper at one end then line up two teams at the opposite end.

The first player in one line dribbles a ball towards goal while the first player in the other line chases to create a 1v1.

Once this attack ends, the attacker stays on the pitch to defend 1v1 against the next player from the opposite team.

When a player has their turn at defending they rejoin the back of their team’s queue. The game is played continuously for a set time or until one team has scored a set number of goals.

Players on each team take turns to attack and defend a goal in a 1v1.

Players on each team take turns to attack and defend a goal in a 1v1.


What to call out

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