Improve your Defending

SoccerSpecific

It is vital that Players have a clear understanding of the principles of individual as well as small-group defending – this understanding can then have a positive carry-over to larger group (11v11) concepts. There is not much point in working on advanced team defensive strategies if the weakest link is the fact that players have a lack of understanding of basic 1v1 duels / 2v2 / 3v3 scenarios.

The following activities develop an understanding of 1v1 defending within the context of small group work. Initially, lanes / zones are utilized to isolate 1v1 situations; activities then progress to free movement of Attackers against a group of 4 Defenders working as a cohesive unit.

The session could be further progressed to 6v5, 6v6, 8v6, 10v8 and eventually 11v11 if required – we leave those progressions to your imagination; play with the numbers, restrictions, space, etc. in order to achieve your objectives!

Best of luck!


Improve your Defending

1. INDIVIDUAL DEFENDING

Setup:

Groups of 9 or 12 players split into groups of 3. 3 Players defend the mini-goals (Black); 3 Attackers (Red) Area divided into 3 lanes lengthways and across.

Improve your Defending | SoccerSpecific.com
Diagram A

Instructions:

Play starts with pass from the Coach (C) to any of the RED attackers – on receiving the ball – this is the cue for 3 Defenders to move forward to engage.

*Players must remain in their vertical lane – this creates a 1v1 scenario within each lane.

RED attackers can pass to teammate or choose to dribble directly. Emphasis is on coaching the DEFENDING abilities within a 1v1 / small group setting. Rotate Attackers / Defenders.

Coaching Points:

  • DEFENDERS:
    • Move forward quickly to engage attacker – cover the distance quickly but ‘arrive’ under controlled speed
    • Body position: feet staggered, guide the attacker to one side
    • Delay the attackers – not necessary to win the ball each time
    • Other Defenders – be aware of positioning of other attackers – be ready to apply pressure on any pass

2. INDIVIDUAL + SMALL GROUP DEFENDING

Setup:

Groups of 9 or 12 players split into groups of 3. 3 Players defend the mini-goals (Black); 3 Attackers (Red) Area divided into 3 lanes lengthways and across.

Improve your Defending | SoccerSpecific.com
Diagram B

Instructions:

Progression – Defenders can now move across one grid to offer support. Attackers can interchange across any zone.

Play starts with pass from the Coach (C) to any of the RED attackers – on receiving the ball – this is the cue for 3 Defenders to move forward to engage. Emphasis is on coaching the DEFENDING abilities within a small group setting. Rotate Attackers / Defenders.

Coaching Points:

  • DEFENDERS:
    • Move forward quickly to engage attacker – cover the distance quickly but ‘arrive’ under controlled speed
    • Body position: feet staggered, guide the attacker to one side
    • Delay the attackers – not necessary to win the ball each time
    • Cover / Balance from other two Defenders – close enough to support the 1v1 duel but also aware and within closing distance if the ball is passed to other Attacker

3. INDIVIDUAL + GROUP DEFENDING

Setup:

Squad divided into 2 Groups. – Defenders (BLACK) / Attackers (RED). Playing area divided into 4 channels – one Defender / 1 Attacker in each channel.

Improve your Defending | SoccerSpecific.com
Diagram C

Instructions:

Four Attackers / Four Defenders start in the advanced Attacking Zone (Shaded Area). Play begins with a pass from any of the Servers (S) to any of the Attackers; Attackers may drop out of the Shaded area to receive the first pass and turn.

DEFENDERS + ATTACKERS must remain in their assigned channel – this creates multiple opportunities for 1v1 scenarios.

Emphasis is placed on coaching the DEFENDERS to delay / stop attacks on goal.

*If Defenders win possession they can pass into any of the mini-goals.

Rotate Attacking groups each repetition / Rotate Defensive groups after each 3-4 repetitions.

Coaching Points:

  • DEFENDERS:
    • Move forward quickly to engage attacker – cover the distance quickly but ‘arrive’ under controlled speed
    • Body position: feet staggered, guide the attacker to one side
    • Delay the attackers – not necessary to win the ball each time
    • Cover / Balance from other Defenders – close enough to support the 1v1 duel but also aware and within closing distance if the ball is passed to other Attacker

4. INDIVIDUAL + GROUP DEFENDING PROGRESSION

Setup:

Squad divided into 2 Groups. – Defenders (BLACK) / Attackers (RED).  Playing area divided into 4 channels – one Defender / 1 Attacker in each channel.

Improve your Defending | SoccerSpecific.com
Diagram D

Instructions:

Remove the Advanced Attacking Zone (shaded area) – now DEFENDERS are free to apply immediate pressure while Attacker has back to goal.

DEFENDERS + ATTACKERS must remain in their assigned channel – this creates multiple opportunities for 1v1 scenarios.

Emphasis is placed on coaching the DEFENDERS to delay / stop attacks on goal.

*If Defenders win possession they can pass into any of the mini-goals.  Rotate Attacking groups each repetition / Rotate Defensive groups after each 3-4 repetitions.

Coaching Points:

  • DEFENDERS:
    • Move forward quickly to engage attacker – cover the distance quickly but ‘arrive’ under controlled speed
    • Body position: feet staggered, guide the attacker to one side
    • Delay the attackers – not necessary to win the ball each time
    • Cover / Balance from other Defenders – close enough to support the 1v1 duel but also aware and within closing distance if the ball is passed to other Attacker

5. INDIVIDUAL + GROUP DEFENDING PROGRESSION

Setup:

Squad divided into 2 Groups. – Defenders (BLACK) / Attackers (RED).  Playing area divided into 4 channels – one Defender / 1 Attacker in each channel.

Improve your Defending | SoccerSpecific.com
Diagram E

Instructions:

Central lanes removed; Attackers are free to interchange positions. One Server (S) now joins the attack – this creates an overload situation for the 4 Defenders.

Emphasis is placed on coaching the DEFENDERS to delay / stop attacks on goal.

*If Defenders win possession they can pass into any of the mini-goals.

Rotate Attacking groups each repetition / Rotate Defensive groups after each 3-4 repetitions.

Coaching Points:

  • DEFENDERS:
    • Immediate pressure on the ball when appropriate – if decide to ‘Press’ – cover the distance quickly but ‘arrive’ under controlled speed
    • Body position: feet staggered, guide the attacker to one side
    • Delay the attackers – not necessary to win the ball each time
    • Communication is vital
    • Cover / Balance from other Defenders – close enough to support the 1v1 duel but also aware and within closing distance if the ball is passed to other Attacker