INSPIRATION | CONFIDENCE | SUCCESS

Track your man

If your players can improve their individual defending when man marking and tracking their opponent’s runs, your team is far less likely to concede goals.

What this session is about

  1.  Man marking.
  2.  Tracking your opponent’s runs.
  3.  Defending 1v1.

What to think about

Young players often lack concentration and can be caught ball watching when defending, this allows opponents to move into space to receive the ball in dangerous attacking positions.

Therefore, as a coach, you must develop practices that increase players’ awareness of their defensive roles in the team.

The practices in this session give the players fun, challenging and match-related tasks to complete in order to be successful. Completing this session will improve players’ awareness and technique of defending 1v1.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
7-10 minutes15-20 minutes15-20 minutes15-20 minutes7-10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Mark out a square area with two cones inside it, as shown in the top picture.

Use two players for this exercise – a defender and attacker – who begin by standing next to each other in the centre.

The aim is for the attacker to feint and make quick movements in order to lose the defender and run past one of the cones. The defender must stay with the attacker in order to win the race. If he loses track of the attacker, he loses. There is no ball used in this drill.

Ensure players have experience of playing against different players in the group in terms of size and speed.

An attacker tries to evade a defender in a 1v1 race to a cone.

An attacker tries to evade a defender in a 1v1 race to a cone.


Development

Mark out a pitch with a goal at each end and use three teams of four players, as shown in the middle picture.

Two teams play on the pitch while one team goes outside to act as neutral players.

To score, teams must first play a pass to a neutral player and run to receive a return pass. This rule creates forwards passes and runs off the ball, which test the defenders’ ability to track and mark their opponent. Swap teams regularly so all players are defenders at some point, practising the necessary tracking and man marking skills.

Teams have to pass to neutral players at the end of the pitch to create an attacker/defender 1v1 duel before shooting.

Teams have to pass to neutral players at the end of the pitch to create an attacker/defender 1v1 duel before shooting.


Game situation

Set up a pitch, which is split into three zones, as shown in the bottom picture.

In our example we have used a seven-a-side game, but you can adapt the player number according to the size of your squad.

Each player man marks a player on the opposing team and is only allowed to tackle the player he is marking.

After two minutes, players must find a new player to man mark on the opposing team. This rule forces the players to play against a variety of opponent (skill, size, speed).

No outfield player is allowed inside the end zones and all goals must be scored from the large central zone.

Restart play with a pass-in in the central zone when it goes off the pitch. The team that scores most goals wins.

In a small-sided game, players can only tackle the player they are man marking – this creates lots of 1v1 scenarios.

In a small-sided game, players can only tackle the player they are man marking – this creates lots of 1v1 scenarios.


What to call out

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