EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Player positions in a diamond defence

The defensive diamond works well with formations like 4-4-2, 3-5-2 – and creates a diamond between the centre backs, goalkeeper and a defensive midfielder or pivot. The pivot will also form a diamond with the other midfielders creating a strong formation right up the pitch.

This is how the defence should be set up:

Defensive Midfielder or Pivot in the screen position

This player must use a wide range of attacking as well as defensive qualities.

The player should:
• Have a good tactical sense.
• Be good at shielding the defence.
• Be good at tackling and intercepting.
• Be able to drop into and hold the defensive line, possessing good defensive qualities.
• Be able to control and direct play from a static deep position, so being a point of reference for the whole team.
• Be able to spot and accurately deliver long passes.

Think Serge Busquets at Barcelona
In these two sessions see how the pivot player sits in the screen position as a tactical plan – a great graphic to show your players so they can understand the role. The second session gets players shielding the defence – the beauty of the session is the simplistic way a young player can learn the role

The two Centrebacks

The defensive centrebacks must communicate well and be available for passes from the goalkeeper and pass into the pivot
The players should Be able to anticipate movement from the attackers Good at tackling and intercepting Good in the air and strong at set pieces Quickly move wide allowing the wingbacks to push up when in possession Quick to move tight positions in front of penalty area out of possession
Think Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen at Tottenham
These two sessions focus on the art of centre-back in attack and defence. The beauty of them is that they take the defenders into situations that are specifically designed to coach that attribute you want to see in your defenders. The defending a corner session should be a blueprint for defending any set pieces in and around the area

The Goalkeeper

For the vast majority of teams, the value of a goalkeeper is judged mainly by how good he is with his hands; however, there is a small minority of teams that emphasise that a goalkeeper must be good with his feet as well as his hands in order for them to be assets even when the team is in possession. A goalkeeper whose relevance to his team is not diminished regardless of who has the ball. He stands at the base of the diamond.
Think Manuel Neuer at Bayern Munich
It is a difficult concept for young players to appreciate so here are two simple ways from the EasiCoach curriculum of getting goalkeepers to play with their feet.

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