Back Four Functional Defending


Here is a great activity to economically train your eight defenders and work on the different principles of defending. This simple but demanding game will enable your players to learn how and when to apply pressure to the ball, force them to stay connected laterally as well as vertically, teach them to cut off passing lanes, and through communication, develop a cohesive working relationship. Give it a try!!

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Set up:

Back four functional defending, 8 players, 44×25 yard field, six small goals. One coach standing behind the middle goal acting as a support player.

Back Four Functional Defending |


Progression 1:

As shown, red team moves the ball laterally one and two touch, yellow player steps to pressure ball and his teammates slide to cover accordingly. Ball is played to the next red guy and the appropriate yellow player steps while his teammates cover.

Progression 2:

At any time, the back four with possession can play it backwards to the coach, thus triggering the defending back four to step or drop depending on the visual cues.

Progression 3:

Back four can score on any of the three goals forcing the defending back four to apply pressure on the ball and cut off passing lanes to goal.

Coaching Points:

  • Pressing ball
  • Sliding
  • Covering
  • Communicating
  • Forcing the ball a certain way
  • Cutting off passing lanes
  • Overall footwork – forwards/backwards and laterally.