Primary & Secondary Defenders

Play and refine! Utilize these rondos and game related activities to teach your young players how to defend. Peel back the layers and challenge your players’ cognitive ability to recognize the appropriate moment to commit to winning the ball. Tracking the ball, managing an opponent and cutting off passing lanes are three important components covered in this complete session. Encourage discipline, controlled aggression and intelligent defending.

1.

Setup:

4V1 positional rondo with a central midfielder and defender. Groups of 5, three identical setups as shown.

Diagram A

Instructions:

The four attacking players in red try and keep possession from the yellow defender. If the yellow defender wins the ball he plays it outside the grid and a new ball is started from the coach. The same player defends for 1 minute, then switch the roles.

Coaching Points:

The defender must decide when to step out and win the ball, when to stay goal side of the central midfielder and when to pressure/win the ball from a one of the perimeter players. The defender must focus on tracking the central midfielder as well as the ball. Recognize the appropriate moment to win the ball. Controlled aggression and intelligent defending. Encourage the attacking players to find the central midfielder as often as possible.

2.

Setup:

4V2 directional rondo with a screening defender. 10X10 yard grids, 12-18 field players, 2-3 identical set ups as shown. A coach at each end with plenty of balls dictating the pace of the activity and the point of entry.

Diagram B

Instructions:

The team in possession must connect a minimum of three passes before playing a penetrating ball to their teammate/target inside the other grid. The screening defender must move laterally along the the middle grid line and cut off any penetrating ball and passing lanes to the opponents target player. If either defender wins the ball or the ball goes out of play, a new ball is initiated by the coach.

Coaching Points:

The primary focus is on the screening defender highlighted in yellow. They must look over their shoulder at the target and try to align themselves between the ball and the target. This will prolong the ability for the team in possession to play through lines quickly. The primary defenders job is to win the ball or make the play predictable for the screening defender by cutting off lanes himself.

3.

Setup:

2V2 to goal with recovery defender. Set up as shown, divide your team into attacking and defending players.

Diagram C

Instructions:

The two attacking green players pass the ball back and forth, on the third or fourth pass one of them can join the attack. They can attack by either dribbling into space or combining with the center forward. Once the third or fourth pass occurs, the defender highlighted in yellow can recover and defend making it a 2V2 to goal.

Coaching Points:

Speed of play and speed of thought to goal. Can the primary defender step in front of the center forward and win the entry ball or should he remain goal side? Can the primary defender win a through ball and/or step to the ball penetrating on the dribble and within shooting distance? Focus on the efficiency of the recovery runner and his recognition of who is most dangerous.

4.

Setup:

Game related 5V5+1 in designated zones to goal. 2V2+1 in the middle zone and 2V1 building to a 2V2 in both attacking zones.

Diagram D

Instructions:

The red and yellow teams try and possess the ball from their defensive third, through the midfield and into the final third. Once the ball has entered the final third a second attacking player may enter the zone making it an even numbered 2V2 to goal. If the ball goes out of play the new ball starts with the GK. 2X8 minutes games.

Coaching Points:

All previous defending principles apply, deny goal scoring opportunities and play forward quickly in transition. A variation could include manipulating the touch restrictions in each of the zones.