One of the most important topics in defensive play is compactness. A key principle of compactness is that the playing area of the opposition is minimised so there is less space for them to attack in. Give your players a lesson in compactness MORE
Repel all raiders
This game enables defenders to work on their communication and decision-making, helping them understand when they should press and when they should recover. It helps defenders learn when to press and when to recover and mark. It forces visual and verbal communication, as well as understanding shape and utilising offside.
Use the penalty area of your pitch. We’ve used 19 players. You need balls, bibs, cones and a normal sized goal.
How to play it
Use two teams of eight plus a keeper and two target players. Players work 4v4.
The keeper starts by kicking the ball towards the first row of attackers who stand 10 yards outside the penalty area. The attackers try to score in the goal for a point, and the defenders attempt to stop them and get a point if they win the ball and pass to a target player. If the keeper collects, he distributes quickly by hand to the target player on the side opposite to the one that the ball came from (the coach decides if it deserve a point).
Play three five-minute games. Play offside.
The four defenders want to make play predictable and win the ball back. Help players figure out how to read the cues that tell them when to step out of line and pressure the ball.
- 1. The goalkeeper distributes the ball from hands or feet and as the ball is travelling to the attackers, the first row of defenders sprint out to cover the distance and get in good shape
- 2. Attackers can only come onto the field once ball gets to their line, then game is live
- 3. The defenders and the goalkeeper communicate to pressure and shift together to deny penetration
- 4. Defenders have to get in good balance and react quickly to the body language of ball carrier. When one step out of line to pressure the ball, the others must quickly arrange their angles and distance of support and tuck in behind
- 5. If penetration occurs, the back four have to drop into their penalty area and get tight with opponents
- 6. If the defenders or the keeper win the ball, they must quickly find an outlet pass to one of the two target players.