Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

How to coach fullbacks

A good fullback will force flashy wingers wide in order to stop them from putting your goal under threat.

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Why use it

The aim of this game is to force play wide and into the outside squares of the grid, teaching young defenders how to make tricky wingers run away from goal and to stop them getting in a cross or switching play.

Set up

Set up an area of 30×40 yards split into three zones. The two outer zones are 15 yards wide and the center zone is 10 yards wide. The target goals go on each end of the lines between the zones. We’ve used 12 players in this session. You need bibs, balls, cones and four goals.

How to play

Play 6v6. The team with the ball are the attackers and they can go in any zone. The defending team (the team out of possession) must have players in two touching zones but can’t be in three zones, so the far zone will always be left open. The idea is to lock the ball in these zones and stop attackers opening up the defense by crossing into the far zone and switching play.


Your defenders must try to slide play wide and keep it there, making play predictable until they force a mistake and win the ball back. There will be enough numbers with the six players to force play wide but they must keep tricky wingers under control.

Are your attacking fullbacks fit for purpose?

DCWatching my fullback in a match this week he was having to work really hard to get up and down the pitch.

We’ve been working on setting the ball back into midfield and getting our fullbacks to support on the wings with balls played wide to them from deep in our defence. It was a tactic working very well and we created numerous chances at the far post.

But I noticed as the match wore on my fullback was less inclined to run wide onto through balls. He had worn himself out running up and down the pitch. It is true of modern fullbacks that their role involves a lot of support play in attack as well as defence.

If you take a fullback like Patrice Evra at Manchester United you will know what I mean. His training sessions are based around fitness and agility as well as tactics and skills. Watch the clip below of Evra training and try some of the exercises with your teams I have and find they work really well for fullbacks.