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Defending

The defensive soccer drills and games in this section will help you coach your players to work as a unit at the back. We look at how your players should organise themselves, what are their roles and responsibilities as defenders, and how they should react in different defensive situations.

With work, you should be able to coach your players to control the game at the back and to start great passing moves leading to goals at the other end.

The best defensive tactic

in Defending, Email newsletters

One of the most important topics in defensive play is compactness. A key principle of compactness is that the playing area of the opposition is minimised so there is less space for them to attack in. Give your players a lesson in compactness MORE

Return to play: Back 4 blockers

in Defending, Return to play

Please check out the latest sport and social distancing guidelines in your area, and follow the recommendations when planning training sessions. Use this 4+4 v 4 box to give your back four a good work out in blocking passing lanes MORE

Pressing v possession

Under pressure

in Attacking, Defending

This is all about teamwork and teammates using the ball or stopping opponents from winning it. Press hard and the defenders will win the three balls in the fastest time – the clock starts ticking the second the first ball is kicked so players must move quickly. MORE

Dribble the ball

Create cool defenders

in Defending, Tactics

A fun game that will encourage your defenders to be calm on the ball and confident in their passing. Having a defender cool enough to keep calm under pressure is an asset. This activity will help stop your defenders from panicking. MORE

How to stop clever attackers

in Defending, Tactics

Use this session to help defenders to decide whether to hold up play or win the ball when outnumbered, often the attacker will have their head down looking at the ball – the defender can hold a goalside position so the attacker has to look up which is the best time to force a mistake MORE

How to coach overloading while attacking and defending - part 1

Tip the balance

in Defending, Practice plans

This trio of overload attacking and defending possession drills is demanding for defenders but the rewards for winning possession is to give their team a player advantage. MORE

Defend an outswinging corner

in Defending, Set pieces

Here’s a set-up I have used for defending a right-footed outswinging corner, with each player being afforded a defined role. If defenders are successful in repelling the threat, they can look to break forward and score in either of the two goals positioned on the halfway line. MORE

Winning back possession

in Defending, Email newsletters

It may sound like I am being negative suggesting ways to stop teams passing but study any of the successful teams around the world and you will see the hard work that goes into stopping teams passing through or around midfields and defences. MORE

How to coach a stall and turn - part 1

Stall the turn

in Defending, Practice plans

Defenders can reduce the threat on their goal by keeping the other team’s forwards facing the opposite direction and moving them away from the penalty area. Use this session to enhance your defenders’ skills at closing down attackers and clearing the danger without necessarily making a tackle. MORE

How to coach keepers to collect crosses - part 1

The cross collector

in Defending, Practice plans

Dealing with crosses as part of a defensive unit is a large part of a goalkeeper’s job. That, is why it is vital to spend time on the practice ground helping your goalkeeper with their positioning, communication and punching and catching skills. “The cross collector” shows you how. MORE

Running backs

in Defending, Tactics

This session will help school your players in defending against the many difficult situations that arise from opponents launching long balls down the pitch. MORE

How to coach sweeper drills- part 1

Minesweeper

in Defending, Practice plans

The role of a sweeper is given to a player that plays behind the line of defenders. It is that player’s duty to cover the space behind and sweep across to remove the danger of the opponent’s attacks. This is how you can develop the use of a “minesweeper” in your team. MORE

How to coach defensive ball winning drills- part 1

First contact

in Defending, Practice plans

Not all players enjoy defending so it is essential practices are competitive, fun and give the player a reward for winning the ball (the chance to score a goal!) Encourage your defenders to make “First contact” in the bid to thwart an attack. MORE

How to coach blocking and intercepting drills- part 1

Block and intercept

in Defending, Practice plans

Teaching your players how to block or intercept an opposition forward pass will help your team regain possession of the ball. Remember – you can’t concede a goal if you have the ball. MORE


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