EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

The shepherd

Most goals are scored from right in front of the goal so shepherding play away from this area will reduce your opponent’s chances of scoring a goal.

What this session is about

  1. “Showing” attackers away from goal.
  2. Making play predictable by keeping the ball on the wing.
  3. Developing 1v1 defending skills.

What to think about

See if players:

  • Are balanced. They need to edge in slowly.
  • Keep their body between the attacker and the goal.
  • Have a slightly side-on body shape, crouching slightly with the knees bent and with their weight on the balls of their feet.
  • Stay within touching distance of the opponent.
  • Stay on their feet.
  • Are patient and don’t commit themselves too easily.
  • Only react to the movement of the ball.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Mark out an area with two gate goals at one end and line up a team of attackers and team of defenders, each behind a goal, as shown in the top picture.

On your signal, the first attacker dribbles a ball along the outside of the area and around a cone at the opposite end.

Meanwhile the first defender also runs and takes a defensive position. The attacker tries to score in the goal on the defender’s side by dribbling the ball across the line.

Meanwhile, the defender tries to shepherd the attacker to run across the attacker’s own goal line, or win the ball and dribble it over that line.

After a run-through, defenders become attackers and vice versa.

A player from each team races into the playing area. One attacks and the other shepherds the player in possession away from the goals.

A player from each team races into the playing area. One attacks and the other shepherds the player in possession away from the goals.


Development

Set up a playing area with a goal at each end. Split players into two groups, A and B, with two goalkeepers, as shown in the middle picture.

Both groups line up at diagonally opposite corners. The drill begins with the first player from group A (A1) dribbling towards B’s goal and trying to score.

Once A1 has shot, a player from group B (B1) runs with a ball to the other goal to try to score.

A1 now defends against B1 by trying to force him wide. After B1 either scores or loses possession, A2 tries to score against B1 who has become the new defender. A1 returns to his team’s queue.

The exercise works through until the last player takes his shot. Add the goals up to see which team wins.

A1starts the activity by attacking, then defending against B1. The activity continues in this way.

A1starts the activity by attacking, then defending against B1. The activity continues in this way.


Game situation

Play a 4v4 plus goalkeepers in an area with goals at opposite corners of the pitch, as shown in the bottom picture.

If the ball leaves the pitch, you or an assistant can pass a new ball on to restart the game.

Because of the angle of the goals, the players will start to understand where they need to pressure and force their opponents when they are defending.

Move the goals to the other end of the line so the angle is changed for attackers and defenders. The team which scores most goals wins.

In a five-a-side game, the goals are at opposite corners to teach defenders to force attackers away from goal.

In a five-a-side game, the goals are at opposite corners to teach defenders to force attackers away from goal.


What to call out

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