Coach defensive values

This session looks at defending principles with technical execution determined by tactical cues.

Why use it

It tests every strength and weakness, from 1v1 attacking and defending principles to strength, speed, agility and finishing.

Set up

You need balls, bibs, cones and 6 goals. Area sizes are marked on the diagrams. We used 12 players in the session


1. Consider how to prevent the turn, maintain a good distance to the attacker, how to win the ball off the half turn or drive the attacker back
2. First defender needs to close and communicate with second defender
3. Successful defending should be followed up by the readiness to transition to attack

How to do it

DIAGRAM 1 Top: Ball is played to attacker who must return to the server, defender must close to the ball to prevent the return pass and to prevent being beaten on the dribble.
Bottom: Ball is played to attacker with their back to the defender. Defender must close to prevent the turn.

Defending principles

    1. Playing 1v1 in a restricted space players should vary starting positions to challenge the defender
    2. The defender must quickly move to stop the return pass and to stop the receiving player turning

DIAGRAM 2 Development into 2v2 with “goals” on the diagonal – once the coach plays the ball the first two 2 players, one white and one black may react to create a 1v1. Upon the first touch of the attacker a covering defender enters and a support attacker

Defending principles

    1. Vary the start position of the 4 players to create pressure and cover and penetration and support scenarios the players must read and respond to

DIAGRAM 3 Development into a 6 goal game. The consideration for the defending team is to pressure the ball and deny penetration. At the same time a defender cannot be isolated 1v1 and cover must be provided.

Defending principles

    1. Consider the individual defending effectiveness of the first defender and the communication offered by the second defender
    2. Successful defending should be followed up by the readiness to transition to attack based on team shape and the disposition of the opponent
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