EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Defending Principles of Play

Coach key defending principles including pressing and holding, preventing the turn, and delay, from this comprehensive manual by experienced US coaches
Ian Barker

As coaches, we should consider time spent training defending technique to be equally important as time devoted to improving attacking. Although often not as appealing for the players, raising the defending performance of individuals, small groups and teams is critical to performance improvement.

“Defending in practice is likely to be a more difficult sell to young players than attacking. Use some reverse psychology and stress that defending is winning the ball back before it is possible to score goals.” author Ian Barker.

Available in ebook or hard copy format with printable practices, this manual will help you to coach fundamental defending principles, and should form an important part of your coaching library. It was developed as part of an exclusive United Soccer Coaches webinar series.

Contributing coaches are: Justin Neese, Soccer Programs Manager, Houston Dynamo, Ricky King, Coaching Education Administrator, New York Red Bulls, Mike Smith, Director of Youth Academy, Portland Timbers, Ian Barker, Director of Coaching Education, United Soccer Coaches and David Newbery, eLearning Coordinator, United Soccer Coaches.

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CONTENTS

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3. DEFENDING PRINCIPLES. An introduction to Defending Principles. By David Newbery.

4. INTRODUCTION TO DEFENDING PRINCIPLES The main focus of this session is to provide an overview of the 5 principles and how a coach can introduce them with youth players. Presented by Ian Barker.

7. PRESSURE This activity teaches defenders how to hold up attackers.

8. COVER Working in pairs in midfield or attack is an ideal way to disrupt passing teams by positioning and support play.

9. BALANCE This activity coaches individual players in forcing play and blocking advancing opponents.

10. COMPACTNESS This activity teaches teams how to move together to press the opposition all over the pitch and force a mistake to win the ball.

11. CONTROL AND RESTRAINT This activity teaches players when to delay the attack and make play predictable.

12. WHEN TO PRESS, WHEN TO HOLD – DEFENDING IN THE MODERN GAME By Justin Neese, Soccer Programs Manager, Houston Dynamo.

14. PRESSING AND HOLDING CUES (WHOLE) This activity teaches general cues that dictate whether players can/should press or hold.

15. PRESSING AND HOLDING ON THE FLANKS (PART) This activity teaches specific pressing cues and encourages pressing on the flanks.

16. FINAL GAME (WHOLE) This is an opportunity to see if learning objectives from the previous activities can be applied in a realistic game setting.

17. WHEN TO PRESS AND WHEN TO HOLD This activity teaches general cues that dictate whether players can/should press or hold as individuals and small groups.

18. FUNCTIONAL PRESSING (PART) This activity applies the general pressing cues to a functional and geographically specific context and encourages the defensive team to “squeeze” the attack.

19. FUNCTIONAL PRESSING (WHOLE) This activity applies the general pressing cues to an 11v11 game and encourages the defensive team to “squeeze” the attack.

20. THE TECHNICAL AND TACTICAL QUALITIES OF EFFECTIVE DEFENDERS By Ricky King, Coaching Education Administrator, New York Red Bull.

22.PRESSURE This activity will help players to improve their technique when pressing the ball. It allows players to focus on all the small details of pressing the ball in a fun and challenging environment.

23. PREVENTING THE TURN This activity will help players to improve their understanding of how to stop attackers from turning with the ball whilst not giving up penetrating lanes in-behind them.

24. DELAY This activity puts players in a numbers down situation constantly. It presents a different problem for the defender as they have to be patient and delay the play before looking to win the ball.

25. PRESSURE – COVER This activity is for younger players with limited knowledge of the role of 1st and 2nd defenders on the field.

26. PRESSURE – COVER – BALANCE This activity is a good practice to help players understand about pressure, cover, balance in a fun transitional game.

27. DOUBLE TEAM This activity allows you to start introducing the idea of how multiple units on the field start to work and interact with each other.

28. TEACHING INDIVIDUAL AND TEAM DEFENDING By Mike Smith, Director of Youth Academy, Portland Timbers.

31. ACTIVATION ACTIVITY These activities provide players repetition of individual defending technique – visual cues that help players decide when and where to provide cover.

32. WHOLE – 6V6 PLUS 2 An environment where players learn to react quickly in transition, zonally mark and collectively read visual cues.

33. PART – 1V1 This activity places players in a game environment where they have many repetitions of defending 1v1.

34. PART – 4V4 TO ONE GOAL This activity places back 4 and goalkeeper in a game environment where they have to work as a group to deny penetration and win the ball back or clear.

35. WHOLE – 9V9 PLUS 1 This activity places players in a larger game environment where coaches hope to see lessons learned.

36. PART – WIN BALL AND COUNTER ATTACK This activity places players in a game environment where they are set up to win the ball back from the opposition and counter attack quickly to a waiting target.

Format

Ebook, Printed Book, Ebook + Print

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    Ian Barker is somewhat unique having held leadership positions with US Youth Soccer and United Soccer Coaches and he has had extensive experience at youth and college levels. Ian coached for 21 seasons with the men’s programs at the University of Wisconsin and Macalester College, before becoming United Soccer Coaches Director of Coaching Education in 2012. Ian was the Director of Coaching and Player Development for Minnesota Youth Soccer Association for 10 years and is a Head Coach of Region II Boys Olympic Development Program. Ian’s qualifications are extensive and he holds the USSF A License, United Soccer Coaches Premier Diploma and United Soccer Coaches Master Coach Diploma.
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