INSPIRED, CONFIDENT & EFFECTIVE COACHING

In the zone

Teaching your players the art of defensive positioning and how to work as a unit will help stop opposition attacks and that means conceding fewer goals.

What this session is about

  1. Zonal defending.
  2. Forcing play sideways and back, and preventing penetration.

What to think about

Defenders should retain the team’s “shape”: centrally – form a triangle pointing at the ball; wide – form an angled line back from the ball.

The defender nearest to the opponent with the ball must put pressure on him.

The covering defender must be at angle and “goalside” (nearer to his own goal than the man in possession) while behind the nearest defender, close enough to pressure ball if his team mate is beaten.

The third defender needs to add depth on defending and cover the back post.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Split the playing area into three equal zones running the length of the playing area. Within each zone, place a cone goal at either end.

Each player is assigned a goal that only they can defend directly, although their team mates can provide passive support.

This means all players have access to the entire pitch but can only tackle opponents in their own zone.

The team in possession can score in any goal in this 3v3 contest. Once a team loses possession, its players must return to their zone to defend, i.e., centre back, left back, right back.

But defenders are not confined to these areas. The zones act as a guide to let them know that when the opposition enters the area, they take the lead in defending.

A pitch is split into three zones and defenders can only challenge for the ball in their area to protect their cone goal.

A pitch is split into three zones and defenders can only challenge for the ball in their area to protect their cone goal.


Development

Add an extra player – a midfielder/attacker – to each team to create a 4v4. Both teams set up in a 3-1 formation with the three defenders still responsible for protecting their own goals.

Restart play with a pass-in if the ball goes out of play.

Add a player so a 4v4 is created but teams still defend three cone goals.

Add a player so a 4v4 is created but teams still defend three cone goals.


Game situation

Now remove the zones and play a 6v6 game (including goalkeepers), with a single goal at each end. Both teams use 3-1-1 formations.

The idea of covering areas will be retained by defenders and communication should be improved.

The team that scores most goals wins.

The zones are removed and playing area increased for a 6v6 game.

The zones are removed and playing area increased for a 6v6 game.


What to call out

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