Defending In Small Numbers

SoccerSpecific presents the following session submitted by Staff and Advisory Panel members. We have had several requests for “defending” sessions in small groups, as usual we aim to please our loyal members.

Activity #1:

Warm Up

Set Up:

12 players and 2 goalkeepers are organized in a 30 X 30 area as shown in the diagram. Organize your players in pairs with one ball per pair.

Diagram A
Diagram A

Explanation:

Groups of two passing and moving; on the coaches shout, the player without the ball must pressure the ball and force the attacker one way. Next progression, on the coaches shout the player with the ball passes the ball to his/her partner and he/she receiving the ball must pop the ball up in the air and force the player to one side. Last progression, on the coaches shout quickly find another players ball and double down.

Coaching Points:

  • 1 V 1´s, double down, and “set the tone”. Speed and angle of approach, body shape, foot position, balance, decision to delay, tackle or win the ball outright. Visual cues, bad first touch, and making the play predictable behind you.

Activity #2:

Small Group Activity

Set Up:

Set up two penalty areas (36 X 44) with goalkeepers in each goal. Split your 12 field players into two teams and put them next to each goal.

Diagram B
Diagram B

Explanation:

2V1, 2V2, 3V2, and 3V3´s to goal. As shown in the diagram, player A from the red team has served the ball over distance to players B and C from the yellow team creating a 2V1 to goal. Player A must defend his/her own goal, win the ball and counter to goal. Once the ball goes out of play the sequence is over and the next yellow player must serve to the next two red players waiting to enter the field. Progress to 2V2, and 3V2, with the player who shoots the ball always has to stay on as the next defender. End with a 3V3 to goal.

Coaching Points:

  • Win the ball and reward yourself by going to goal!
  • All previous coaching points apply.
  • Sharing workload/exchanging roles, recover centrally, intercept pass/deny turn, communication and tracking.
  • Defending: tracking runs and defending positions, covering angles and distances, body shape and communication.
  • Immediately defend the danger areas (i.e where the ball is)..

Activity #3:

Set Up:

Same size area used as the previous activity. Organize your players into three teams of four with a goalkeeper in each goal.

Diagram C
Diagram C

Explanation:

The game is 4V4 to goal with the third team placed as neutral players on the sides of the area. First team to score stays on and the losing team must transition off with the neutral team transitioning on. Neutral players cannot enter the playing area and are limited to one or two touch based on ability. Keep the games fresh with plenty of reps for each team.

Coaching Points:

  • Immediate pressure on the ball
  • Defending the space in behind
  • Force towards support or use sideline to help defend
  • Communication
  • Cover and balance

Activity #4:

Set Up:

7 V 7 half field is used with an offside line at half field. Regular game with no restricitions but focusing on small group defending. Put your teams in a 3-2-1 and 2-3-1 formations.

Diagram D
Diagram D

Explanation:

20 minute game or as needed. Only make coaching points at natural stoppages if possible.

Coaching Points:

  • All previous coaching points apply and encourage your team to win the ball and go to goal!