Building the back 4 activity

This session is all about getting the back four to work together and to gain a level of understanding to stop attackers splitting the central defenders and advancing on goal.

Play the Building the back 4 game at the end of this session.


7v1 (or similar numbers, but only one defender) – if the defender gets a touch on the ball at all, they switch out and a new defender comes in

5v2 (focus on ball and support and forcing the pass one way or the other) – have the defenders go for about a minute and then get new defenders in

Main session


You need one big goal with a keeper and for the playing area set a box at the top of the 18 that is roughly 8-10 yds wide and 7-8 yds deep.

3v2 Box – 3 attackers and 2 defenders come into the box, play for 30 seconds at a time then rotate both off and def, coach feeds balls in from top. Offense must cross the 18 at the back of the box and then go to goal – can cross line on dribble or pass but play with offsides. Defence play until ball is out of the small box and out of the 18.


Defenders work as a unit, stay together, never get split


4v3 Box (not shown) – Make box bigger (12-15 wide, 10 deep) and add one attacker and one defender – go for 45 seconds each then rotate offense and defense. Same set-up, play to goal, cross the 18 at the back of the box to go to goal


Work as a unit of 3 now defensively, shape will look different, stay together width and depth-wise (step and drop together)

    1. If a defender touches the ball they swap places with the player who passed the ball
    2. Look for technical body shape of the defender, reading the first touch to see if they can close down on the ball

3. Switch players around after one minute – defenders should pressure the ball and force play right or left, support player off that shoulder
4. The defenders should communicate by calling for the ball and calling support each pass – their key aim is to never get split

5. In the 3v2 box defenders work as a unit to try to stop the attackers crossing the line and going for goal

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