Defending The Counter


At what age should you introduce tactics? At what age should you start teaching your young players how to defend a counter attack properly. Here is an outstanding activity to teach your players the principles of defending the counter attack. This 7V7+1 game like scenario gives your players the snap shots they need to learn more! Every repetition paints a different picture, just like the real game. Try this activity and see how they do!

Defending the Counter


7V7+1 The yellow team is organized in a 2-3-1 formation and the red team is organized in 1-4-1 formation. The neutral player is wearing white and starts each sequence close to the center circle. The field is 70X50 and organized as shown.


The emphasis is on coaching the yellow team how to defend the counter attack. The coach plays a ball in to the yellow team who is in a numbers down scenario, 3V4 in the central area of the field. Yellow tries to possess the ball, combine with their center forward and go to goal. If they lose possession (as shown), the red team finds the neutral player immediately. All red players transition forward as quickly as possible while the yellow team defends the counter.

Coaching Points:

In the moment of transition there are three main objectives for the yellow team.

  1. Win the ball back immediately and attack their opponents goal again.
  2. Create a tactical foul in the opponents half or at midfield.
  3. Delay and absorb the attack in order to get numbers behind the ball.

When the yellow team finds themselves in a 1V1, 2V2, or numbers down scenario, make sure they get compact, take away the space in behind, don’t dive in, force the attack to wide areas if possible, and make the shot/play predictable for the GK. Make sure the primary defender is close to the shooter so the GK is not screened because the defender is caught in between the ball and the goal. No risks, clear the ball out of bounds, force a stoppage in play. Because of the nature of the topic and the intensity level of the activity, make sure you allow plenty of recovery between waves of attack.