U9 Defending Drill to Quickly Recover a Lost Ball

Counter attacking is a huge problem for youth teams especially in the younger age groups where getting the team that has lost the ball to quickly react is very difficult.

You need to spend time on sessions like this one because in young minds they may well think it is a lost cause and not react but often the attacking team will be slow to counter and a quick reacting team can get back between the ball and their own goal. Or the attacking team may well shoot and have the shot saved by the goalkeeper and a quick moving defender will be back in time to clear the second ball.

U9 defending session

1. Set up a 15 x 10 yards area with a cone channel at one end and a goal at the other. The channel should be 5 yards wide and run for half the length of the area. You also need a cone on the right hand side of the goal in the corner.

2. Put two attackers and a ball at the beginning of the channel. Start with one defender protecting the goal and two others moving from recovery positions – one starts close to goal but must run around the cone to recover and the other starts alongside the two attackers.

3. The attackers have one job to do and that is score a goal – the recovering defenders must move quickly to help the defender in front of goal. This is how a transition, such as a counter-attack, would work.

4. The three defenders move to cover each other – if they get back quickly enough they should either be able to pressure the attackers into taking a hasty shot (more likely to miss the target) or create a barrier the attackers cannot break through.

5. If you find the defenders are getting back too quickly, tell them to wait for your call and release them after the attackers have started.