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House Soccer Coaching Sessions

Week 4 - Defending
by Darren Beesley, (USSF A / UEFA A)

Warm Up -10 mins

Players start simply by passing in two groups. Pass and follow your pass. Once the player passing the ball has done so, encourage them to arrive quickly at the intended target, move their feet and passively show the player receiving the ball on to their weaker side (Passive Defending)

Advance the exercise to 1v1 defending using the line down the middle of the playing area to force the attacking player directional, attackers onto their weaker side (Left/Right) and ensure you defend correctly to keep the player that side of the playing area trying to win back the ball. Two goals to attack for the attacking players. Defenders win the ball and dribble to a blue cone. Rotate Attackers and Defenders.


Coaching Point - Feet movement, Body position side on, Do not over commit or dive in.

Defending 1v1.png

Defending Advancement - 10 mins

2v2 Plus a Target player to make it 2v3. See example. Defenders now work in pairs to defend a central gate or goal. Attacking team try to dribble through the gate/goal. Defending pair should stay compact and look to emphasize Pressure/Cover/Balance. Can the defenders force the attackers to the weaker side.


Advancement - Add in a goal or a target for the defenders to score in once they win the ball back.


Coaching Point - Feet movement, Body position side on, pressure/cover/balance, communication.

2v2 Defending.jpg

Defending (Recovery Runs) - 10 mins

2v3 Plus a Target player to make it 2v4 with a recovering defender from behind the attacking team making it 3v4. Have the recovering defender set off on your shout or once the attacking team cross the line. The yellow line sees the defender begin his recovery run once that line is crossed by the attackers. See example.


Defenders stay compact and slow down the attack allowing the recovering defender to regain his position.


Coaching Point - Compact, Delay/Recover, Recovery run.

3v3 Recovering Defender 36 and #8.jpg

Recovering Full Backs #2/#3 - 20 mins

3v4 to 4v4 to Goal. Each attacking player has a ball and numbered 1-3. Have the #9/Striker always up against the defenders. Each attacking player dribbles with the ball. Coach calls out a number that ball is live and in play. Once the number is called and one ball is live. The recovering defender #2 or #3 begins his recovery run to make it 4v4.


See example. Defenders stay compact and slow down the attack allowing the recovering defender to regain his position. Target goals for the defending team. By calling out a number the defensive unit have to shift over quickly and together whilst staying compact.

Coaching PointsPressure. Compactness. Delay/Recover. Cover/Balance. Control/Restraint.

Defend and Delay Small Sided.jpg

8v8 Game - 35mins

8v8 or 9v9 depending on numbers available. Shape of the team should be 1-3-3-1 or 1-3-3-2 . Encourage compactness. You can focus on working with one team at a time on the principles of defending. Use a neutral player at times if numbers are uneven or overload one team 9v8 to work on defending. It should allow for more success within the game.

Coaching Point - Encourage all aspects of the Session/Defending 

8v8 Game Defending.png
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