Organising your team's defence is vital to having a successful season. So how do you go about getting your team to stop the opposition scoring goals? MORE
Two banks of four
A team needs to be united in defence when under pressure. The focus of the session is defending with two banks of four players. These players work together to reduce space for the opposition to attack and create goalscoring opportunities.
What this session is about
- Improving the team’s defence.
- Facing the opponent’s goal when defending.
- Making play predictable.
What to think about
When defending, you must give your players simple rules to follow in order to be successful.
I always instruct my players to face the opponent’s goal when defending because it is easier for them to be goal-side (nearer to their own goal than the ball) and in a position to go forward.
Using two banks of four players (four defenders and four midfielders), your team can cover the width of the pitch.
This formation means the distance between the defenders and midfielders can be decreased by the midfielders dropping deep to stand in front of the defence. This process stops passes being made, by the opposition, between the two banks.
If the ball moves, all players in the two banks move and take up a new position.
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What you get your players to do
Use half of your regular-size pitch and 12 players, plus a goalkeeper.
The defending team lines up with a goalkeeper and two banks of four players (four defenders and four midfielders), as shown in the top picture.
Four opponents are spread across the halfway line, passing the ball to each other using two touches each. The two banks of defenders must shuffle their position to take up a good defensive shape in relation to the ball but cannot challenge for the ball.
Pay particular attention to ensure there are no big gaps between the defensive players.
To make this process more difficult, instruct the opponents to pass quickly and switch play to increase the intensity for the defending team but opponents do not push forward.
Now add three opposing attackers to the practice.
The defending team must now defend with its two banks against four midfielders and three attackers.
The attacking team always starts with the ball on the halfway line with the target of scoring a goal.
The defending team must stop this happening by working as two banks of four and shortening the distance between the two lines.
Defenders need to concentrate on being goal-side and forcing attackers to pass sideways or backwards.
If the defenders win the ball, they are awarded a goal and then game restarts from the halfway line. However, if the attackers score, they are awarded three goals.
Offside rules apply at all times.
Mark out two goals with poles on the halfway line and begin a small-sided game between the teams, as described in the previous exercise.
Now on regaining possession, the team using two banks of four players, can quickly free a player, from the tight-knit banks, to dribble through either of the pole goals.
If the team attacking the big goal gathers the ball quickly after this, they will find more space in the defensive banks
. Offside rules apply at all times. The team that scores most goals wins.