Dealing with long balls

Dealing with a direct style of play is very hard as it forces your players to deal with lots of physical confrontation and aerial battles. It is vitally important your players understand how to react to this type of pressure and are aware that communication is crucial.

The set up

Area: ½ pitch
Equipment: 3 cones, 3 balls, 1 goal

The steps

  1. The defenders must push high and get close together.
  2. As the ball is played the defenders must decide on who is going to challenge for the ball. The other defenders must drop around this player and cover ready for the ball to drop.
  3. The three servers take it in turns to play aerial passes and the defenders must stop the attacker by winning the initial header or picking up the second ball.

What to call out

  • “Get together”
  • “Drop as ball is played”
  • “Who is attacking the ball, where is the cover?”


Perfect defending key

Dealing with long balls - part 1

The defenders push high and defend narrow.

Dealing with long balls - part 2

A defender takes responsibility to challenge for the header.

Dealing with long balls - part 3

The remaining defenders drop back to collect flick ons and prevent an attack.

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