Soccer attack and defence games

Try these two drills for attack and defence games.


Awesome overloads is a fast-moving attack and defence game that keeps players switching between overload and underload situations.

Not only that, but because they’re changing positions all the time they’ll need to show good positional awareness and must be communicating with their team mates to fashion positive goalscoring chances or prevent the opposition profiting.

How to set it up:

  • This small-sided game is played using 12 outfield players and two keepers.
  • Create a playing area measuring 40×30 yards with a goal at each end.
  • Within that, mark a halfway line. In the top half, create a central 14-yard box in front of the goal, with an eight-yard box on either side.
  • You stand in the right-hand box.
  • To the side of the top goal are defenders ready to enter play. Either side of the bottom goal is a black attacker.
  • In the top half, the activity starts off as a 2v1 attacking overload. In the bottom half it’s 2v2.

Getting started:

  • A ball is served to one of the two players in black in the top box. They combine to attack the top goal 2v1.
  • No matter what the outcome, the white player then receives a ball from you and attacks the bottom goal, joining his team mates to form a 3v2.
  • After the attack, you coach pass a new ball to the two black defenders to launch an attack on the top goal.
  • The original black attackers join the back of the queue and the two new blacks move into the lower box.
  • A new white defender comes in and a new 2v1 scenario in the top box develops.
  • The process continues with players swapping places with team mates as play switches from the top to the bottom, meaning that both teams attack and defend in turn.
  • Run this for 10 minutes then switch teams. Who can score most times?



Pressure, support and depth by Dave Clarke

Teaching defenders technique and the ability to move into the right places at the right time can be done on the training ground.

Here though, we combine the teaching with an immediate attack versus defence scenario, so players are straight away putting into practice what they have learnt.

So they must ensure they react to the call well, adopt the right shape, then be ready to defend immediately.

How to set it up:

  • Create a 25-yard square with 10 x 5 yards end zones.
  • In front of one end zone, place three cones across the width of the area, plus a mini goal just in front of the central cone.
  • Three defenders start behind the cones and three attackers start at the opposite end.
  • Stand halfway up the area on the touchline.

The technique:

The three defenders will need to move as per your instructions, so teamwork and unity is essential in maintaining a solid backline. So you will call either:

“Left” – the left defender pressures and shows inside, the central defender supports and stops the forward pass, the defender farthest away supports the central player and provides depth.

“Centre” – the central defender pressures the ball while the two wide defenders take up supporting positions behind, and to either side to stop the forward pass.

“Right” – the right defender pressures and shows inside, the central defender supports and stops the forward pass, the defender farthest away supports the central player and provides depth.

Getting started:

  • On your call, the defending team completes the defending technique task.
  • You then pass a ball to the attacking team at the opposite end.
  • Immediately, the defenders must run onto the pitch and use the group defending technique to stop their opponents from scoring in their target goal.
  • Each team has six run-throughs before the roles are reversed. The winning team is the one to have scored most times in the goal.

These sessions originally appeared in Soccer Coach Weekly.

For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.

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