Central defence

Players learn to react quickly in transition and learn about zonal marking and using visual cues to increase cover in dangerous areas.

Set up

Set up a 35×35-yard area with two flag goals as shown and a 12-yard box in the middle. We’ve used 14 players and a server.

How to play it

Play 6v6 plus two neutrals. Play four four-minute games, with two-minute ‘debrief breaks’. Each team is given a goal to attack first. The team with possession tries to pass to a team-mate or a neutral in the central box to score a point and can then attack the flag goal for an extra point. The next time they have the ball, they must go for the opposite goal, which allows the defenders to reorganize more easily. If the team scores in the goal, the coach plays the next ball to the same team. If there is a turnover, the team winning the ball must make at least two passes before passing to a team-mate in the central box.


Coaches should be looking for defending teams to put pressure on the ball, collapsing team shape and blocking passing lanes into the central square.

    1. The game starts with a pass from the coach to one team. That team must try to pass to team-mates or a neutral player in the central box to score a point
    2. After receiving the pass in the central box, the team then attacks one of the flag goals. Here the white team starts by attacking the red flags

    3. The defensive team attempts to prevent the attacking team playing into the central square by reading the body language of the ball carrier and observing the dynamic movements of his team-mates
    4. The defensive shape should be tight and players should constantly be surveying their surroundings to help make good decisions and to communicate with their team-mates

    5. As the ball moves, the defensive team have to read the body language of the passer and the movement of the receiver to choose the best time to press or to drop off and delay the attacker
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