EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

High and low pressure

If your team defends as a unit it can win back possession effectively anywhere on the pitch.

What this session is about

  1. Defending high with full pressure.
  2. Defending deep with low pressure until the opponent comes forward.
  3. Playing against high and low pressure.

What to think about

Playing with a high pressure defending tactic, your team must squeeze up the pitch which can allow spaces behind your defence for the opponent to exploit with quick forwards.

When defending with low pressure you are inviting pressure onto your team and maybe longer balls into your defence.

Therefore you must select the correct tactics to suit your team.

Set-up

  •  30 x 30yd area for the session expanding 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 goalkeeper and defenders try to play out of defence and score in one of the two mini goals.

The three attackers must try to stop them by putting pressure on the defenders.

Can the attackers win possession and score a goal?

The three attackers press high to win the ball.

The three attackers press high to win the ball.


Development

Progress the initial practice by splitting the pitch into two zones.
The attackers now wait in the 2nd zone and allow the defending team out of defence free from pressure.
The attackers must block passes or shots into the two goals. Once the ball is inside the 2nd zone the attackers quickly pressure to win the ball.

The three attackers are patient and allow the defenders into the 2nd zone before pressing.

The three attackers are patient and allow the defenders into the 2nd zone before pressing.


Game situation

The game is played in two ten-minute halves.

One team must play a high pressure defence and ensure that when possession is lost all their players squeeze up into the first two zones to make the pitch compact.

The opposite team are playing a low pressure, counter attacking tactic and when possession is lost they drop back to the bottom two zones leaving the opponents defenders free from pressure at the back.

Each team plays one half using each tactic.

The white team pressure high with all players moving up into the first two zones to make the pitch compact.

The white team pressure high with all players moving up into the first two zones to make the pitch compact.


What to call out

  •  “Pressure quickly”
  •  “Make the pitch small”
  •  “Can you win possession close to the goal?”
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