Solid As A Rock

Run this training session if you want your players to be as rock solid in defence when facing up to a counterattacking threat in a final game.

Why use it

When one team dominates they tend to get sucked into attack, especially if players are piling forward in search of a goal. But if they lose the ball and are hit on the counterattack, they are outnumbered. This session will show players how to defend this scenario.

Set up

Use half your normal pitch coned off along the edge of the penalty area. Use normal goals, with one on the halfway line and with a keeper in each goal. We’ve used eight players. You need bibs, balls and cones.

How to play

Play a 3v3 plus keepers. One team starts with a player next to the opposition goal. He is the recovering player, leaving 3v2 on the pitch. The team with three players on the pitch start with a pass from their keeper. The recovering player is released when the ball is touched from the keeper’s pass. Play three balls and switch teams – each ball is played with normal rules until a shot is scored or the ball goes behind one of the goal lines.


The two outnumbered defenders must delay the counterattack, unless they can tackle without endangering the team. The recovering defender must decide quickly whether to cover space or track runners.

    1. One player from the recovering team must stand at the side of the opposition goal waiting for the signal to release them
    2. The signal for the recovering player to move is when the counterattacking team receive the ball from their keeper

    3. The two defenders must back off from the attackers covering the central areas of the attacking zone in front of goal
    4. This makes it difficult for the attackers to penetrate through the central area and forces them to go wide

    5. The recovering defender must decide whether to cover space behind the defenders or to track runners moving to receive a pass
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