Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: counter, defend, goalside, win the ball
By David Clarke
Every coach has been in the situation where his team loses the ball, the opposition race towards goal, yet his own players stand and watch the inevitable conclusion unfold.
For younger kids especially, the idea of heading back to mop up the mess is generally taken as being “someone else’s job”, and even the most organised teams’ defenders can find themselves alone at the back with the opposition haring towards them.
So encouraging your players to get back and help defend is hugely valuable. It will add to a player’s game, enhance team spirit and may be worth quite a few points come the end of the season.
How to set it up:
- Use a standard pitch for a warm-up sprint drill.
- Mark out an area measuring 35 yards long by 10 yards wide with a goal at one end – this will form the main part of the session.
- Start first with a sprint drill to teach defenders, who are tracking back, the key areas they should be running to.
- 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 goal post, while those in the centre of the pitch should run towards the penalty spot.
- Now move to your 35×10 yards area.
- Three strikers attack against 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 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.
Why this works:
The move 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!
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: attack, block, centreback, defender, defending, puyol, tackle, tactics
By David Clarke
Barcelona’s captain Carles Puyol is known for his intense commitment and strength as a defender. According to Barcelona’s head doctor, Puyol is “the strongest, who has the quickest reactions, and who has the most explosive strength”.
Love him or loathe him, he is the sort of player who gives everything for the cause, who prides himself on being alert to wave after wave of attacking threats in and around the box. He is also the sort of player who is not afraid to put his body in harm’s way. And he’ll grab you the odd goal or two.
Ensuring that your players are back on their feet after a good tackle or clearance and ready to combat a second wave of danger is essential.
To keep them alive and reactive, here’s a defensive move that asks for quick reactions and tireless commitment to the cause.
How to set it up:
Create a playing area measuring 10×10 yards.
The drill requires four servers and one designated defender.
Each server starts on a different side, with a ball.
Place your defender in the middle – his job is to react to a different serve from each player around the area. After each serve, his task is to keep the ball within the box.
Starting on the left-hand side, server 3 throws the ball up for server 1 to head into the middle. The defender tries to stop the ball from going out of bounds.
Immediately, server 2 passes a ball towards the opposite line. The defender must now react, running to slide and stop the ball from crossing the line.
Now server 3 dribbles onto the pitch and attempts to get to the line opposite. The defender tries to stop him.
Finally, server 4 throws the ball over the defender’s head and attempts to run around him to win it back. The defender’s task is to shield the ball, letting it run over the line. If the ball stops dead before the line, he can then kick it clear to the left or the right.
Now rotate so that a different player acts as the defender.
Why this works:
Adopting the mindset that a defender’s job is rarely complete is absolutely vital if players are to counter all of the threats on a match day. After each phase of this drill, the defender needs to be alert to a new test, reacting quickly to each ball and clearing the danger.
Each test offers a new skill, and provides you with a quick-fire snapshot of where the defender’s game can be improved.