EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Fun defending practises

This session introduces your young players to the principles of defending by disguising the theme of the practice through the competitive nature of fun team games. Giving them a proper structure and the correct tactical approach will make their role as a defender much more rewarding and will save your team lots of goals.

What this session is about

The session will improve 1 v 1 defending and will help to develop a positive attitude and energy to winning the ball.

What to think about

  • The aim is to not tell your players that they are working on a defending practice – some young players will not respond well to that scenario. Instead, encourage them by telling them that they can win the games by using good defending techniques.
  • Your players will work extremely hard at defending in order to beat the other player and win points for their team.
  • Remind them of the proper techniques and don’t let them commit fouls – it should be fun but not too rough.

Set-up

  • Mark out two 10 x 10 yard areas.
  • Pick two teams of five players.
  • Number the players 1 to 5.
  • Number 1 from each team must go into the other team’s area.
Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

  • Game 1 – stop the other team making 20 passes: The team of four pass one ball around the area. The defender must continuously try to stop them completing passes. The first team to complete 20 passes is the winner.
  • Game 2 – tackle all four attackers: Each of the attackers dribbles around the area with a ball. The defender must tackle or dispossess them quicker than the other defender.
  • Game 3 – knock all four balls off the cones: the attackers must each defend a ball balanced on a cone by using good ballshielding technique. The defender must knock the four balls off the cone quicker than the other defender.
    The team is awarded 1 point for each game they win.
Game 1 is their warm-up. Can they intercept the pass?

Game 1 is their warm-up. Can they intercept the pass?


Development

Instead of playing for points for their team, get your defenders to play against the clock, thus changing the emphasis to personal success. The defender who completes each task in the least time is the winner.

In game 2 your players must make four quick tackles.

In game 2 your players must make four quick tackles.


Game situation

Play a small-sided game with two goals and goalkeepers. Encourage immediate defending upon losing possession of the ball.

In game 3 your players must figure out a way to knock the ball off the cone without fouling the attacker.

In game 3 your players must figure out a way to knock the ball off the cone without fouling the attacker.


What to call out

  • “Can you pressure the player on the ball?”
  • “Can you win it?”
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