Archive | 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.

Pivot Defence feature

How to use a pivot player defence

Look at the top teams around the world and all the best have a ball-playing defensive midfielder or what we call a pivot linked to a great goalkeeper. Spurs have Eric Dier, Chelsea bought Leicester City’s N’Golo Kante in the summer, Bayern Munich have Xabi Alonso and Juventus have Claudio Marchisio. Look behind them and […]

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Zonal Marking feature

Should I Try Zonal Marking?

Much maligned by weekend soccer pundits, zonal marking was not just designed for teams at the very top of the game, it’s a system that can be used at every level, even in grassroots youth soccer. The system has its champions and critics, but its use is often just a matter of taste.  Many coaches […]

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Create overloads in defence

5 tips to stop those tricky wingers

If your fullback is going to get the better of a “fancy Dan” winger, make sure he sizes up his opponent. Your defender must… Make an assessment of how fast the winger is early in the game and work out how close to mark him Be tight enough not to let the winger turn Get […]

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14-player game for zonal defending

14-player game to practice zonal defending

Once your players understand the concept of zonal defending, this game allows you to put the system into context and gets them playing a game with lots of corners. Why use it The defending team is coached how to get into formation in a match when they have lost the ball and how to quickly […]

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Collapse around the ball

Collapse around the ball defending tactic

The term collapse around the ball is used to describe how a team’s defenders drop back to support a team mate pressing the ball. For example, when a pass is played into an opposing forward, one defender goes tight and stops the opponent from turning. Now the other three defenders collapse around the team mate […]

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Defending Workshop feature

Defending Workshop: Create overloads in defence

It’s vitally important our players know how to efficiently and effectively close down opponents in winning the ball at the back, especially as this is an area where space between the lines is a vital target for opposition attackers. Helps players to understand defending and you will definitely see players progress so they "want" to […]

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U9 defending session

U9 Defending Drill to Quickly Recover a Lost Ball

Counter attacking is a huge problem for youth teams especially in the younger age groups where getting the team that has lost the ball to quickly react is very difficult. You need to spend time on sessions like this one because in young minds they may well think it is a lost cause and not […]

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cut the supply lines feature

6v6 to Cut the Supply Lines

Teach your defensive midfielders to make opposition forwards go hungry for the ball by cutting off their supply lines. Why use it Players protecting the defence will often find themselves in different number combinations and quite frequently they will be on their own facing quick attackers. This session coaches individual players in forcing play and […]

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U11s recovery session

U11s defending game to recover a lost ball

If your players, rather than get hurt, turn their backs on the ball when they’re pressing in midfield take a look at this recovery game. I use recovery sessions where players must watch their own position and that of their team mates in getting back behind the ball to block it. This takes their minds […]

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Secure the box feature

Defend set pieces and secure the box

This session helps defenders understand the importance of marking tightly in the penalty area and not losing their man. It also helps players to read the game and clear the ball and to keep your hands and arms by your side when play is in the penalty area. Why use it The two central defenders […]

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