EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Hold ’em up

A good fullback will force flashy wingers wide in order to stop them from putting your goal under threat. Use this game to show your defenders what to do

Why use it?

The aim of this game is to force play wide and into the outside squares of the grid, teaching young defenders how to make tricky wingers run away from goal and to stop them getting in a cross or switching play.

Set up

Set up an area of 30×40 yards split into three zones. The two outer zones are 15 yards wide and the centre zone is 10 yards wide. The target goals go on each end of the lines between the zones. We’ve used 12 players in this session. You need bibs, balls, cones and four goals.

How to play

Play 6v6. The team with the ball are the attackers and they can go in any zone. The defending team (the team out of possession) must have players in two touching zones but can’t be in three zones, so the far zone will always be left open. The idea is to lock the ball in these zones and stop attackers opening up the defence by crossing into the far zone and switching play.

Technique

Your defenders must try to slide play wide and keep it there, making play predictable until they force a mistake and win the ball back. There will be enough numbers with the six players to force play wide but they must keep tricky wingers under control.

Force tricky attackers wide

    1. The aim is to force play wide away from the goals but defenders must prevent tricky wingers creating space and getting a cross into the far box switching play.
    2. The defending team can only be in two touching zones which means the furthest zone will always be open if the attackers can find space to cross the ball.

Watch out for switching play

    3. The defenders win the ball so the attackers must now get into two touching defensive zones to stop the counter attack and force play wide.
    4. The ball is with the winger who can either shoot or hold the ball until support arrives. He is up against the retreating defenders who will try to win the ball back.

Defend wide areas

    5. If the winger does manage to switch play to the open zone the defenders must move over one zone to quickly protect the goal.

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