EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Key defensive areas – the whole unit

Bangor City first team manager Kevin Nicholson looks at defending in and around the penalty area in a variety of situations. This session tackles defending as a unit. For defending as an individual and a pair go to KEY DEFENSIVE AREAS – INDIVIDUAL AND PAIR.

Bangor City first team manager Kevin Nicholson looks at defending in and around the penalty area in a variety of situations. This session tackles defending as a unit . For defending as an individual and a pair go to KEY DEFENSIVE AREAS – INDIVIDUAL AND PAIR.

Why use it

The way the session is built up helps players to understand their various roles and responsibilities and the key defensive priority of protecting the goal.

Set up

You need balls, bibs, cones and a goal. Use half your normal pitch. We used 17 players in the session

How to do it

Split the group into four defenders and six attackers, plus two full-backs who serve long aerial balls from just over the halfway line. Attackers line up behind two cones 10 yards apart, placed 12 yards from the 18-yard box. Attackers cannot shoot in the shaded areas only from inside the penalty area not shaded. The defender’s main task is to keep the ball out of the area, rather than win possession. Defenders rotate after each phase. Now full backs are added so the whole back four is in place. After defending the long aerial ball, the entire back four is now involved in repelling the central attack 4v2 . They then reorganise for a potential cross. The full-back must go out wide to defend 1v1, preventing the cross if possible. If he cannot get there, he drops to become an extra defender.

Technique

Blocking, intercepting and pressing are key

Defending the penalty area

    1. Attackers are challenged in a 4v2, and the player in possession is forced to play out to the winger
    2. With the back four in place, two team mates drop around the defender to provide cover and support
    3. The full-back moves out wide to defend 1v1, attempting to stop the cross if possible.

Defending as a unit

    4. Now the wide player goes 1v1 against the fullback to get a cross into the two attackers in the penalty area
    5. The remaining three defenders must organise to counter the threat of the cross into the box
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