Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: 4v4, defending, play out from back, small-sided game
One of the things that is important in playing out from the back is the pass from the goalkeeper out to a defender in space. This is an important part of the tactic. A pass that puts the defender under pressure will usually end up in disaster.
A good first pass and the defenders are on their toes ready for the ball.
Play this game which keeps the defenders on their toes but gives them a target to aim at.
Pitch size: 30 x 20 yards (minimum) up to 40 x 25 yards (maximum)
One full-sized goal
Two teams of four players
Three mini target goals
One team starts the game as the attacking team.
One team starts the game as the defending team.
The keeper starts the practice with the ball in his hands.
The defending team must attempt to pass out of defence and into one of the mini goals in order to score a goal.
The attacking team must try to win the ball and shoot into the net to score a goal.
The game is played for 10 consecutive balls.
The two teams then reverse roles for a further 10 balls.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: defending, force play, predictable, pressing, Switch play, tactics
An important characteristic of modern teams is their ability to control the game even when they haven’t got the ball. The whole team plays a part in this tactic with the intention of forcing the opposition into awkward situations.
The formation succeeds by covering all avenues of opposition attack, meaning that play is stifled. It relies on pressing as soon as the opposition has the ball. The defending team always keeps the action in front of them and tries to stop any balls through the centre or in behind.
This tactic requires good fitness from players because it is hard work. And for pressing to work, the team must prevent any switches of play as this will give overload initiatives to attackers. But performed well, the game rewards are significant.
How to set it up:
Set up an area measuring 30×20 yards. Make three 10-yard zones across the width of the pitch.
You will need bibs, cones, balls and goals.
The players in the middle zone must prevent other teams passing through them.
This featured session uses nine players split into groups of three (one group in each area), but it will work with any equal denominations.
No balls are allowed over head height.
Players are restricted to two touches.
Play starts with either end zone team. Players pass among themselves before threading a ball through to the team in the opposite end zone.
For the first two minutes, the middle team is not allowed to move any player out of its zone.
After two minutes, allow one player from the middle zone to go forward into an end zone to press the ball. Play this for three minutes.
If the ball is intercepted, play restarts at the other end.
Rotate play so that each team fulfils defensive duties in the middle.
Now try this:
Remove the zones and add two goals, with a keeper in each. Also add a halfway line.
Keep the teams in threes but this time the middle team attacks one end, then turns and attacks the other.
The outer two teams must defend the area and clear the ball using the pressing technique.
If a goal is scored, play restarts with the middle group and they attack in the opposite direction. If a tackle is made, the defenders’ reward is to now switch places with the middle group, thus becoming the attackers.
Why this works:
Pressing the ball is a great tactic for winning back possession. This activity shows the value in doing that, compared to standing off waiting to intercept. Pressing means opposition players rarely settle on the ball and mistakes can be forced, either through poor control or a rushed pass.
Take out a 97p trial to Soccer Coach Weekly today.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: back four, back three, defending, depth, positions, pressure, sessions, support
Teaching defenders technique and the ability to move into the right places at the right time can be done on the training ground.
Here though, we combine the teaching with an immediate attack versus defence scenario, so players are straight away putting into practice what they have learnt.
So they must ensure they react to the call well, adopt the right shape, then be ready to defend immediately.
How to set it up:
Create a 25-yard square with 10 x 5 yards end zones.
In front of one end zone, place three cones across the width of the area, plus a mini goal just in front of the central cone.
Three defenders start behind the cones and three attackers start at the opposite end.
- Stand halfway up the area on the touchline.
The three defenders will need to move as per your instructions, so teamwork and unity is essential in maintaining a solid backline. So you will call either:
“Left” – the left defender pressures and shows inside, the central defender supports and stops the forward pass, the defender farthest away supports the central player and provides depth.
“Centre” – the central defender pressures the ball while the two wide defenders take up supporting positions behind, and to either side to stop the forward pass.
“Right” – the right defender pressures and shows inside, the central defender supports and stops the forward pass, the defender farthest away supports the central player and provides depth.
On your call, the defending team completes the defending technique task.
You then pass a ball to the attacking team at the opposite end.
Immediately, the defenders must run onto the pitch and use the group defending technique to stop their opponents from scoring in their target goal.
Each team has six run-throughs before the roles are reversed. The winning team is the one to have scored most times in the goal.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: attacking, defending, movement, position, tight
This session is all about stopping the opposition players with their backs to goal turning with the ball, so they won’t be able to pass or dribble into the space behind your defence.
The idea of the session is to:
Stop forward or through passes.
Stop good dribblers from turning and attacking your defenders.
Force opponents away from goal.
What players need to think about
Make up ground to within touching distance of the attacker while the ball is passed from the server.
Position body between attacker and target player.
Stand slightly sideways on ready to move quickly in any direction.
Get a clear view of ball.
Tackle when attacker is half-turned and not screening the ball.
How to play it
Use the centre circle for this session or an area 20 yards in diameter.
2 players – 1 attacker and 1 defender – start inside the playing area, with the defender initially giving the attacker some space.
1 server and 1 target player start on the edge of the circle in one half, with the other server and target player on the edge of the other half. All 4 players on the outside of the circle should be spaced apart equally.
The attacker receives the ball from a server and must attempt to turn and pass the ball to the target player on edge of the other half of the circle.
Whatever the outcome, the drill is repeated with the attacker next receiving a pass from the server in the other half. Rotate players so they all have a go at being the defender.
How to develop it
The unused server becomes a target player. The defender now has to cut off two options for the attacker.
Increase the size of the circle.
Take out a 97p trial to Soccer Coach Weekly today.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: attacking, communication, defending, direction, drills, exercises, match pace, position
When young players are involved in fast, action-packed matches they often lose their position and don’t realise what is going on around them. You find that the pace of some matches they play in will be just that bit too fast for them and they lose their soccer sense.
What I do with my teams is to play a fast, constantly moving game where players must think about position, action and direction.
How to set up and coach it
You need a 30 yard x 20 yard pitch. Use two teams of four players, and four mini goals. Create a triangle in the centre. One team defends the triangle the other team defends the four mini goals.
The team defending the triangle goal must nominate a goalkeeper whilst the other three players try to pressure and win the ball.
Play for 15 minutes then reverse the roles.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: defender, defending, position, support, supporting player
If you’re facing a team where the attackers are getting good support from the wings, you need your defenders to support each other in dealing with the threat. The supporting defender in this situation is vital for cutting off attacking options.
In this session players learn how to improve the understanding of covering and support between team mates.
How to play it
Set up a 30 yards by 20 yards area and add a 5 yards end zone at one end. Split the playing area down the middle with a row of cones so you can run two drills at the same time and allow more players to participate.
To begin, the defender near the end zone passes to the attacker at the other end. He must then stop the attacker from dribbling back towards him and into the end zone. The supporting defender, standing behind the playing defender, must give verbal support such as, “get tight”, “stand up” or “force wide”.
How to develop it
Remove the cones to create one pitch. Now two defenders work together in a 2v1 situation against the attacker. The first defender must put pressure on the attacker while the team mate covers and supports.
After the ball has been played, a second attacker enters the pitch from the other side and the defensive roles are switched. The defender creating pressure now covers and supports while the covering defender has a turn at putting pressure on the new attacker.
Turn it into a game
Play as above, but with the addition of a goalkeeper and goal. Now the attackers can shoot from distance so there is extra pressure on the defenders to move across quickly. The goalkeeper can provide additional support, communicating with both defenders.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: attacking, defending, drills, success, u8s, u9s, unopposed
I will often run an unopposed session to encourage my players to move the ball and support each other without the added distraction of defenders.However, to make the session more realistic to the game I will add defenders at the end to reinforce player learning.
Unopposed sessions allow your attackers to be more confident in receiving the ball because they get the success they require from doing it.
Using unopposed exercises for build up and combination play in attack is a good way of coaching your players to move the ball, and encourages movement to support the ball as play moves around the pitch.
In this session, strikers and midfielders combine with a neat lay off and a precise threaded ball to set up a shot across the goalkeeper.
Set up a 40 yards by 30 yards playing area with four mannequins (poles or cones will do), two cones and two goals. You need eight outfield players and two goalkeepers.
How to play it
- The forwards move away from the mannequin to receive a pass.
- The forwards set the pass back to the supporting midfielders.
- The midfielders return the pass into space for the forwards to spin and run after. The forwards now shoot across the goal.
The midfielder becomes the forward for the next turn.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: attacking, Courses, defending, mcginn, strikers
Chris McGinn is running some great courses to help coaches understand what they need to coach and how to coach it. I was at his defending course recently which he did at Fulham’s academy and it was very educational.
Any coach struggling to use defensive sessions or struggling to understand positional sense, how to coach positional sense or the words to tell youth players to use when they are defending 1v1, 2v1, 2v2, or when they are outnumbered will get a great deal out of Chris’s courses.
A former coach at Arsenal, Chelsea, Wigan, Fulham, QPR, Gillingham, Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol Rovers & Bristol City, Chris has a vast knowledge that coaches can learn a great deal from.
Chris is now going to do an attacking one-day course and I for one am going to make sure I go on it. It’s always a great day and a great way to meet other coaches and find out what they are coaching and what they hope to gain from going on coaching courses.
Chris told me: “I’m now ready to share my experiences of working with strikers like Nathan Dyer, Scot Sinclair, Bobby Zamora and Sanchez Watt .”
And he tells me that I can’t miss his course because he’s going to reveal his ‘Working with Strikers’ system on the course.
As usual the course fees are very reasonable which is especially good. They usually cost around £40 but he’s always got special offers on so why don’t you check his course out and maybe I’ll see you there!
Check his course out by CLICKING HERE
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: defending, recovery runs, session, support, supporting defender
I spoke to Charlie at half time in a match this week. He was rather cross that I wouldn’t play him up front. He had been player of the match the previous week playing up front and thought this would be his position for keeps.
He said he was doing nothing playing in central defence and wasn’t sure why he was playing there. I explained to him about how he knew I moved players around the pitch to let them try different positions. But I also pointed out to him that he had twice recovered back and stopped a certain goal by tackling the player before they shot.
Not only that he had also cleared a long ball with his head away from danger. Is that good, he asked? Brilliant – as good as scoring a goal, I told him, and off he went pleased with himself.
I use this session to coach recovery with my players. It combines pace and awareness because players must concentrate on recovering by moving quickly, then supporting the other defenders. Another crucial part of this is in making sure that once your players have made it back they don’t turn off mentally and subsequently fail to complete the defending task. It can be all too easy to get back and think that the job is done, when really it has only just started!
How to set it up:
• Use a standard pitch for a warm-up sprint drill.
• Also set-up an area measuring 35×10 yards with a goal at one end – this will form the main part of the session.
• Start first with a sprint drill to teach defenders tracking back the key areas they should be running into.
• Players should run as fast as possible and take the shortest route towards the danger area. Players on the wing should take a line back towards the nearest goalpost, while those in the centre of the pitch should run towards the penalty spot.
• Now move to your 35×10 yard area.
• Three white strikers attack one defender and a goalkeeper.
• A second defender is 10 yards behind the play. His aim is to make it back to the ball to help prevent a goal.
• The middle striker is a server and cannot move. He plays the ball to either of the two white forwards. As soon as he does, play begins and the recovering defender can move.
• The lone defender must hold up the strikers until the second defender arrives.
The recovering player must make one of four decisions.
1. Challenge for the ball
2. Cover the defender
3. Mark an opponent
4. Mark space between the opponent and goal
• When a move comes to an end, play restarts with the serving attacker.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, centre-back, defending, how to defend, puyol, Real Madrid, spain, youtube
Carles Puyol is the type of player every team would like. He is the classic old-fashioned captain. Quick and powerful, committed almost to the point of comedy, he is an inspiration to team-mates and an idol for the fans.
His intense commitment to Barcelona runs deep – he often stays behind to train and reportedly comes in on his days off to put in some extra work.
He makes a good roll model for youth players because he has made himself great even though he does not have the reputation of some of his team mates. Puyol has played for Barcelona since 1999 and been club captain since 2004. In his early years as captain before Iniesta, Messi and Xavi came on the scene he said of his team mates: “I don’t have Romário’s technique, [Marc] Overmars’ pace or [Patrick] Kluivert’s strength. But I work harder than the others. I’m like the student who is not as clever, but revises for his exams and does OK in the end.”
“Puyol is the key,” says Xavi, the Barcelona midfielder, “not just because he is one of the best defenders in the world but because of his character. He never lets up. If he sees you relax at all, he’s suddenly at your side demanding more.”
He has starred in more than 500 official games for the team, winning 18 major titles, notably five La Liga and three UEFA Champions League championships. At international level he has won the Euro 2008and the 2010 World Cup tournaments with Spain.
Team mate at Barcelona Gerard Piqué said: “He’s someone who, even if you’re winning 3–0 and there’s a few seconds left in the game will shout at the top of his voice at you if he thinks your concentration is going.”
More recently said, “Even four goals down he thinks we can still win.”
“The fans appreciate that I work my hardest all the time,” Puyol explains. “I need no encouragement because I’ve always been a cule – I’ve never hidden that fact. I am living the dream playing football for Barça and it is my dream to retire playing here. I know someday that I will have to leave and I am not looking forward to that day. I will work hard to realise my dream but if I can’t then I would like to play in another country. I wouldn’t want to play in Spain. I would go to England or Italy.”