Soccer coaching game using a sweeper role for defence

The role of a sweeper is given to a player that plays behind the line of defenders. It is that player’s duty to cover the space behind the defence and in front of the keeper, and sweep across to remove the danger of the opponent’s attacks. This is how you can develop the use of a “minesweeper” in your team.

The sweeper has a great view of the action because he is behind his team mates. The sweeper has to communicate with his team mates to organise them.

He must be on the move continuously and take up a position in relation to the ball that enables him to cover his defenders should an attacker or pass make its way behind the defence.

The sweeper is not only used as a defender. He can also be used to begin attacks. In this case, his role is to see which team mates are available from his deep position and feed the ball to help build up attacks.


How to set it up

Use an area 30 yards long by 40 yards wide.

How to play it

Set up a small-sided game in which each team defends and attacks two mini goals. In front of the mini goals is an end zone. Each team has a sweeper inside its defensive zone.

The aim is to score in your opponent’s mini goals. The sweeper must stay inside the end zone and communicate with his team mates to give defensive advice. In addition, the sweeper must continuously be on the move in order to block the goals so that the opponents cannot score.

How to develop it

Set up the pitch as in the middle picture by dividing the area into three equal zones. In the area with the big goal, the defending team uses a “minesweeper” – a defender who controls the area to take out any threats. In the opposite area, the remaining three defenders try to win the ball and score in the mini goals.

The opposing team has four attackers who try to combine in order to release a player past the three defenders and into the minesweeper’s area to begin a 1v1 attack and score a goal. You work as a server and stand between the two mini goals so you can pass to the four attackers.

To progress, play a small-sided game as shown in the bottom picture.

This exercise is taken from Smart Sessions.

Dave Clarke

Share this

Follow us