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Cover tactics soccer coaching session

There’s nothing worse for an attacking player than getting past the defender only to find another one in his way. Not only is it tricky to get past two defenders, it also means the attacker will veer away from a direct route to goal. The second defender can ‘steer’ the attacker wide of the penalty area. Use this soccer coaching session to help your players learn to cover.

What you get your players to do in the drill

Stage 1: In an area approx 10 x 30m, the ball is played to an attacker, who must try and dribble to the end-line. The two defenders must prevent the attacker from doing so by forcing their opponent down the line. The first defender challenges the attacker, the second defender provides cover.

Stage 2: Switch positions so everyone gets a go at being the covering defender.

Soccer coaching drill to get players covering

What you tell your players to do

  • Force the attacker down the touchline.
  • Stop the ball from being played forward.
  • Stand at a slight angle goalside of the first defender.
  • Communicate early and clearly

What to look for in the soccer drill

  • The covering player being in position to make an effective challenge if the first defender is beaten.
  • Good communication – for example, the covering defender advising their team-mate to “get closer” or “force them down the line”.
  • Making the forwards’ play predictable.

Develop the drill

The attacker playing the first pass joins in the attack to make a 2 v 2 situation. The defenders will now have to constantly switch roles depending on who is nearest the ball, with the covering defender becomes the main defender and vice versa.

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