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Developmental Academy Coaching Sessions

Week 7 - Defending
by Darren Beesley, (USSF A / UEFA A)

Warm Up - The Chase - 10mins

All players are gathered in one area with a ball each. Select two defenders who start without a ball.

Players without a ball have to win and steal a ball from a player with a ball. That player then has to do the same but cannot steal the ball back directly from the player/defender who took it from them. It has top be different ball from a different player.


Coaching Point - Defending, Feet Movement, Positioning. Body Shape


Make it Fun - Give the game a time limit, add in more defenders without  ball to make it more fun and challenging.

Make it fun - This can be turned into a team game not individuals.

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1v1 Defending (Multi-Directional Gates - 10mins

Two Small Goals/Gates. Defending player passes to the attacking players 1v1 to start. Attacking player can score in either goal (multi-directional). Emphasize on defending 1v1, Player must dribble through the gate and have the ball under control to score, Defender wins the ball and passes the ball back to the coach. 

Coaching Point - Arrive to the ball quickly, get the attackers head down, force him to his weaker side.

Make it Fun -  Defender wins the ball; they can score.

1v1 Defending.png

Advancement 2v1s/2v2s - 5mins

Advance the 1v1s to 2v1s and 2v2s. Work as a team defending. 


Coaching Point - Arrive to the ball quickly, get the attackers head down, find out which is the attacker's weaker foot. Force a pass or a mistake. Have Fun!!!!

Make it Fun - Attackers have to make a pass before scoring, Defenders can now score...

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1v1s (x2 Goals) - 10mins

1v1 defending two goals. Use a line down the middle of the playing area to make it fun and to force the attacking player to attack one side only,  Two goals to attack for the attacking players. Defenders win the ball and dribble to a blue cone or pass to the coach. Rotate Attackers and Defenders.


Coaching Point - Quickly arrive to the ball, slow down when arriving. Find out which is the attacker's weaker foot.

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2v1s Team Work - 5mins

2v1 with a defender running from behind the attacker once he controls the ball. Have the defender set off on your shout or once the attacker touches the ball.. 


Coaching Point - Team Work, Quickly help your Team Mate, slow down the attacker allowing the defender to regain his position.

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Advancement - 3v2s - 10mins

Advance the exercise to 3v2 with two defenders recovering to help their teammate. Encourage the players to demonstrate what's been emphasized in the previous fun exercises. Encourage quickly sprinting to help your teammate who is outnumbered. 

Coaching Point - Team Work. Quickly help your teammate, slow down the attacker allowing the both defenders to regain their position.

Make it Fun - Add in Goals both ends of the field to allow the defending players to score!!!

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4v4 Game 20mins

4v4 Game. Try to play 4v4 whenever possible to reinforce the shape of a diamond whilst playing 4v4. If need be rotate players in and out to allow them to get used to game days on a Saturday.

Coaching Point - Diamond Shape, Spacing. Encourage all aspects of the Session/Defending.

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