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The defensive squeeze

If defenders can improve their movement and communication, attacks can be stopped. The practices in this session will help enhance your defenders’ ability to squeeze across and remain compact. The defence can then apply pressure on attackers.

What this session is about

  1.  Improving the defence.
  2.  Squeezing across to remain compact.
  3.  Applying pressure to regain the ball.

What to think about

The aim for the defence (back four) is to protect the goalkeeper and block opportunities for the opposition to score goals.

The defence must cover the full width of the pitch to be successful.

However, something to remember when defending is that the goal is in the middle of the pitch and, for a goal to be scored, the ball must come back to the middle at some point during the opponent’s attack.

This means, in training, you should always work on the defenders remaining compact and stopping forward passes in order to force play wide or backwards (away from goal).

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes15 minutes5 minutes

What you get your players to do

Mark out a square with a six-yard channel in the centre, as shown in the top picture.

Use three teams of four players. One team goes in each half while the third team goes in the central zone to work as defenders.

The two outside teams must combine passes and try to pass through the central area and beyond the defending team to “score a goal”.

The defending team tries to block passes by moving across the line in a group while reducing the space between defenders.

Defenders are not allowed to leave the central area and all passes must be made below head height.

Defenders keep compact in the centre channel and try to stop passes from one team to the other in each half.

Defenders keep compact in the centre channel and try to stop passes from one team to the other in each half.


Development

To progress, one defender is allowed to leave the central zone to press the opposition.

However, this leaves only three defenders to block the space across the central area. So the pressing defender must try and steer the opponent to one side of the pitch.

This tactic will now make the opponent’s intentions predictable and allow other defenders a chance to squeeze across and block the forward pass.

A defender can enter each half and try to guide play to one side so his fellow defenders can block off passes across the centre.

A defender can enter each half and try to guide play to one side so his fellow defenders can block off passes across the centre.


Game situation

Increase the width of the pitch and add a goal. Again use three teams of four players but they are now attackers, defenders and targets. The pitch is split into five channels, each is eight yards wide.

Defenders try to occupy four channels by squeezing across to remain compact and block opportunities for opponents to shoot through at goal.

To start, the goalkeeper throws the ball out to the attacking team. Defenders run out to defend and attackers try to build up and score a goal.

The defending team tries to regain possession and pass forward to the target players in order to end their role as defenders.

When this happens, the attackers now have to become defenders, the target players attack and the defenders become the new target players.

The offside rule is used in this game. The team that scores most goals wins.

Defenders fill up four of the five channels to stop attackers shooting and can pass to target players.

Defenders fill up four of the five channels to stop attackers shooting and can pass to target players.


What to call out

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