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
3v3 games to coach defensive and attacking soccer tactics
One of the best ways to coach simple defensive soccer tactics, such as the offside rule, is to use games of 3v3. In these small-sided games, you can change the soccer tactics so defenders face different situations, for instance, attacks down the wing or through the middle.
If you start your attackers off using the wings, they will quickly see the effect this has on the defending team as it pulls them wide and they have more space to cover.
Players will also notice that attacking in small-sided games can leave the team open to counter-attacks. So they must always be alert to what is happening. For this reason, use 3v3s to work on having the correct defensive depth and how to use the offside rule as a tactic.
Set up 3v3 soccer drill
- Set up a 3v3 using small goals and a 40 yards by 20 yards pitch for this soccer (football) drill.
- Split your players into teams of three. Teams rotate so the team that scores a goal stays on the pitch against the next team.
- Talk to your players about the soccer tactics they should use during the drill. With the two attacking situations highlighted in this soccer drill, the players are faced with different decision-making options.
- One defender man marks, and if the ball is played through the middle – as in the first part of the diagram – the two outside players move inwards to force the pass out wide. It is harder for a team to score from this position.
- When the attacker has the ball in the central area, he has the option to pass wide and will want to play balls between two defenders to either winger. If the central defender sits off this player, however, the attacker can keep running until there is a chance to shoot at goal.
- If the ball is played out to the wing, one defender closes down the ball carrier, while the other two look to cut off possible passes.
- The winger can cross deep to the opposite winger or play it into the central area for the attacker. When the ball is with the winger, the defenders have to be careful not to leave the opposite winger unmarked as the temptation will be to mark the central attacker only.
- Watch for one-two link up play which can catch defenders out.
To work on the correct defensive depth, you can use 3v3s to practise offsides. Add a normal-sized goal and a goalkeeper.
In this soccer (football) drill you should encourage defenders to work together to decide whether to push up or not. When the ball is played forward, the defence has the choice to play an offside trap or drop deeper to cover the attackers making blindside or goal bound runs.
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Click here for a 3v3 defensive skills drill where a player becomes the coach.