Drill for defensive soccer strategies

Setting up a coaching drill where you have different numbers of players on each side is a great way of boosting defensive soccer strategies and getting your players taking advantage of match-like situations.


In a match situation, a breakaway attack can often result in your defenders facing an attacker on the run bursting into your half of the pitch – the organisation of your defenders will change as more attackers enter the danger zone.

Your soccer players need to know how to deal with this situation.

This soccer drill involves players making decisions:

  • Who is organising play?
  • What’s the goalkeeper’s position like?
  • What are the covering defenders doing?

You need to get players to react to changing priorities in relation to where the ball is and the number of attackers they’re facing.

Set up for soccer drill session

  • Using your penalty area with three defenders and a goalkeeper, the attackers take it in turns to dribble into the area.
  • The first attacker tries to dribble past the three defenders and score.
  • Once this ball is played, the next attacker dribbles into the area and combines with the first attacker to try and score in a 3v2 situation.
  • This continues until all the attackers have entered the pitch and the final attack 3v5 is complete.

Soccer coaching session with different numbers of players on each side


Develop the soccer drill

Play a normal game and watch how defending set-ups take shape. Take defenders to one side and explain where they have gone wrong.

If you found your players enjoyed this soccer coaching session, why not give them more? If you want to get coaching ideas from West Ham Academy Director Tony Carr dropping into your inbox every week click here to subscribe to Smart Sessions.

Click here for a defending soccer drill to coach overload tactics.

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