Category number: 03
Theme name: Defend The Defending Third
Type: skill
Phase: 6
Age: 11
Number of Players: 9
Duration: 25
Part: 1
Level: 1
Skill: defending
Skill2: crossing
Skill3: marking
Category custom Id: practice

Football Practice Set Up: Defend The Defending Third - Opposed (1003ai)

50x40 Area with 4 attacking players up against 4 defending players and GK. Objective is for GK to distribute to attacking players who must create quickly to break down defensive line to create goalscoring opportunities.
Focus on defensive shape and players ability to remain compact and ensure they make it as difficult as possible to break down, continuous practice with recovery on GK distribution.

Player Focus

Defensive Compactness - Sliding Together - Forcing Direction - Decision To Press - Quality in Possession

Set Up
4 Defenders to ensure they remain compact, limiting spaces behind recognising when one presses others must contract to protect space behind.



Progression 1 - Additional Players
Addition of extra Midfielder to defend and 2 attacking midfielders to increase challenge. Can also flip defending so players have to defend 2 mini goals as shown.


Key Points 1 - Slide / Shuffle
As attacking progresses either side, defending team must ensure they slide together and limit any spaces left through quick passing play; identify slow movers.

Touchtight Soccer Practice Tips (Key Coaching Points)

Although this is a defensive practice in the main, we must ensure the attacking quality is at the level it needs to be in order to work the defenders. Therefore our first Interventions should be based on standard of passing and movement in possession.
S - Wide channels and target men force the defending team to slide quickly and stay with forward runners.
T - Rewards for staying compact and not conceding in 60 seconds for example. Attacking team start to be more forceful and creative - Could develop transition on regaining possession.
E - Balls around the pitch, so that once scored, they have 3 seconds to start play again from anywhere. this encourages ownership and constant speed of play.
P - Players drop out if possession given away cheaply creating over or underload - pressure training for elite youth players. How do players react to this? Play Safe / Exploit player advantage
Advanced - As a coach you will know the quality of your team and individual players and so individual or group challenges could be set.  Be creative with your progressions and tailor them to your players needs.
Key Coaching Questions:


  • What are the issues you are facing as a back 4 and how can you sort out problems as a group?
  • What is working well to limit opportunities for attacking team? can you improve this further and how?

Article Description Focus on defensive shape and players ability to remain compact and ensure they make it as difficult as possible to break down, continuous practice with recovery on GK distribution.
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