EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Cover your back

In every match there will be moments when the team us under a lot of aerial pressure. Defenders must be organised and put up a united front. Successful teams are often the most organised defensively.

Set up

Use half your usual pitch and you will need 10 players. You also need bibs, ball, cones and a goal.

How to play it

Split your players into a goalkeeper, four defenders, two attackers and three servers. The job of the servers is to play a long ball into the attacking area of the pitch – they take turns to cross in from both sides of the pitch and from central with balls down the pitch. Defenders must clear the danger and squeeze up to try to get the attackers offside.

Technique

Tactically this is a great work out for your defenders. The aim is to get your defenders to drop back into a tight unit and for one defender to then go forward and challenge the attacker by jumping to head the ball away. The other defenders are in the perfect position to cover any balls the attacker heads on if he beats the first defender.

defend the long ball

    1. The defenders should push high, holding the attackers outside the penalty area before the ball is crossed
    2. The attackers must make sure they are onside and ready to provide a hard challenge for the defender

Movement to cover

    3. A defender takes responsibility to challenge the attackers for the ball.
    4. The other defenders go narrow to close any space in front of goal and collect the ball if the attacker wins it and heads it on

Clear the ball

    5. Here the defender wins the ball and heads it away from the danger zone
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