Soccer drills for defense


During this first phase of training, players are taught to choose position well while defending.
Players are encouraged to first choose a good position in relation to the attacking pair and to experience how to reduce the opponent's play.
Because of the one-against-two situation, the defender will have to shield the passing line well to the opponent without the ball, and then force the opponent with the ball to the side. Next, it is important that the opponent is forced to run diagonally forwards - in the direction of the sideline - and cannot turn.
The defender then waits for the right moment to intercept.

The defensive player shields the passing line to the opponent without the ball.
Goalkeeper checks off the goal and coaches fellow players.
Defender tries to force the ball-carrying opponent one way and at the right moment (at the side of the field) intercept the ball.


  • Field is 20 meters long and 10 meters wide.
  • 2 pupil goals.
  • 3 caps in 2 different colors.
  • Hats in 1 color to mark out the field.
  • Sufficient balls at the build-up.

  • 1+keeper against 2.
  • 1:1 against 2.
  • Player of the constructing party takes the ball out.
  • Defending player screens the goal halfway down the playing field.
  • The opponent -attacking team- tries to score.
During this second form of practice players are taught to choose their position well while defending.
Players are stimulated to be well organized and to screen the center -the space in front of the goal- in order to force the opponent into one direction. This requires good mutual cooperation, which can sometimes feel unnatural for players because they have an urge for the ball. In this simplified underdog form of soccer, players can experience what happens when they give away too much space and do not cooperate well: the opponent will then be able to score easily.
It is important for the defender who presses for the ball not to give the opponent space to turn, and to force even more to the sideline. The other defender can learn to cover his/her back well.
To execute this exercise properly where the defending team can intercept the ball, the building up opponent is given a lot of space to build up. Only when one opponent dribbles with the ball towards the goal will one of the defenders step in and apply some pressure. Only when the opponent in possession of the ball explicitly looks for the 1v1 situation, one of the defensive players will try to intercept. Until then, they patiently screen the goal, waiting for the opponent to make a mistake .


  • The field is 30 meters long and 14 meters wide.
  • 2 pupil goals.
  • 5 caps in 2 different colors.
  • Hats in 1 color to mark out the field.
  • Sufficient balls for the build-up.
  • 2+keeper against 3.
  • 1:2 against 1:2
  • Player of the constructing party takes the ball out.
  • The defending team screens the goal halfway down the playing field.
  • The opponent -attacking team- tries to score.
  • The two defensive players screen the pass line.
  • The goalkeeper checks that they are shielding the goal and pass line properly and coaches fellow players.
  • The two defensive players check spacing and pressure ahead.


During this drill, players learn to remain patient and screen the goal properly, among other things, to resist resistance. An added difficulty is that there are two goals to be defended, making it extra important that the center is properly shielded. The most logical way is for the defending team to force the opponent to the side and for one side of the field to try to intercept the ball when the opponent tries to get closer to one of the two goals to create a scoring opportunity. This practice form is again more difficult than the first form due to the number of players, but remains manageable. It allows them to learn to cooperate and to maintain a proper distance between them.

  • The field is 20 meters long and 40 meters wide.
  • 2 mini goals and 1 pupil goal or 2 more mini goals.
  • 8 caps in 2 different colors.
  • Hats in 1 color to mark out the field.
  • Sufficient balls for the build-up.
  • 4 against 4+keeper
  • 1:2:1 against 1:1:2:1
  • Goalkeeper of the constructing party takes the ball out.
  • Defending team shields the goal halfway down the playing field.
  • The opponent -attacking team- tries to score.
  • The defending players screen the goal.
  • The goalkeeper checks that they are shielding the goal properly and coaches fellow players.
  • The defending players check the distance between them and wait for the opponent to come towards their half of the pitch.
  • The player closest to the ball forces the dribbling opponent back out or to the side, the others keep the center close and provide back cover.
  • The one closest to the ball waits patiently until an intervention leads to ball possession and forces the opponent back.
  • The two goals are always shielded, the right moment to intercept the ball is only there if the goals are properly shielded.
  • Coach your teammate when they can apply pressure to intercept the ball.
This type of exercise is a positional game in which the team with the excess number must press for the ball immediately after losing it.

The principle of play
What are your players supposed to do when the ball is lost somewhere on the field? If you want your team to put direct pressure on the ball in the transition from possession to loss of the ball, the following form of practice is very suitable to work on this. The playing principle that is central in this form of practice is 'putting pressure on the ball directly'. With 'putting pressure' I mean attacking the ball; actively moving towards the ball -and opponent- in an attempt to conquer it as soon as possible.

The practice form
The red team plays the ball around or plays for possession. The yellow team tries to get rid of the ball. 
When the yellow team is in possession of the ball, they must try to score as soon as possible in one of the four goals. 
By keeping the size of the field relatively small, it is easy for the yellow team to attempt a goal from all positions on the field. 
The red team is thus forced to put pressure on the ball immediately upon loss of possession to prevent a goal/attempt.

What can you pay attention to in this exercise? Since pressure on the ball is central, it is logical to look mainly at this:

  • Is it pressured at all at ball loss?
  • If yes, by whom and by whom not? If not, why not?
  • If pressure is applied, how? Aggressively from the idea of capturing the ball immediately or from a shuffle pace?
Several variations are possible, some suggestions:

  • If you have no goalkeepers, you can also work with small goals only
  • Let the under team score by dribbling out of the field (possibly in combination with the goals)
  • Award points to the outnumbered team by playing around x number of times
  • Award points to the outnumbered team if the ball is recaptured without a goal attempt by the underdog.
  • More/less goals
  • Count goals from the under number more heavily
Naturally, the form can also be played with other numbers, as long as there is an over- and undercount.

Direct pressure is very effective when it works. If it is not successful and the opponent can play under pressure, it is very likely that large spaces will be created, which is a risk. Correct adjustment of the pressure requires training.
1 v 1 individual defending O16 1 - 4 players 1/4 pitch Game description
The attacker tries to reach a score by dribbling through a gate of pawns.
The defender tries to prevent a score. Because there are multiple goals, this becomes a challenge for him.
The goal of the defender is to send the attacker to the side and to conquer the ball or play the ball outside.

The rules of the game

  1. The attacker starts the game by dribbling into the game.
  2. Once the attacker is through the gate, the defender may start preventing a score.
  3. Point count: a score through the side gates earns 1 point and a score straight through earns 3 points,
  4. If one game lasts longer than 2 minutes, a defender and attacker are added until a goal is scored. Only 1 ball remains in the field. If after 2 minutes - 4 minutes in total - no goal has been scored, another attacker and defender join in and so on until a goal is scored or the ball goes outside or is conquered by the defender.
  5. Variation: limit the number of ball contacts for the attacker, increase or decrease the size of the field, increase or decrease the size of the goals. 
The preparation
Organization-wise you can lay out the field according to the following dimensions. If you want to make it more difficult for the player with the ball, make the field narrower and shorter. 
The measurements Length: 15 meters Width: 15 meters, pawns should be 1.5 meters apart.

Distances pawns 10 L by 6 B Goals countdowns watch by age.
Hats not needed because 1 on 1.

  • Red dribbles into the box and plays the ball to blue.
  • Blue tries to score on Red's goal, red takes the ball away and scores on blue's goal.
  • On scoring or ball over the line out of box and join at the back on the other side where you were standing.
Coach moments:
Defence: make sure you stay between man and goal. be patient, bend your knees slightly, stand on your front feet.
Attack: keep speed in your game as soon as you are stationary, you are easy to defend, by body movements unbalance your opponent. 
Tap the ball next to your opponent and then also accelerate. Then try to have your body between opponent and ball.



Form of play with attack vs defense according to the formation in double check 8v8
.Attack tries to score in big goal, defense tries to take away ball and play back to starting point.
Size of choice here 30 x 30 m

  1. Ball always leaves at 10, who dribbles in; K, 3 and 9 are already in their positions.
  2. From departure 10, 7 and 11 connect; 10 then plays 7, 9 or 11.
  3. As soon as the first pass arrives, 2 and 5 join in defense.
Attack ends at goal, ball over back line or when defense gets ball at starting point.
Then pass or switch depending on the number of players available.

Different variations possible, for example:

  • Max 2 ball touches per attacker per attack.
  • Max 5 passes to mandatory goal attempt.
  • Max 3 passes to mandatory goal attempt.
  • At least 2 triangles per attack.
  • At least 2 double passes per attack.
  • Both teams are going to try to score on the goal where the goalkeeper is standing.
  • For this, the right of attack must first be obtained by engaging in handball with the coach who stands on the other side of the field.
  • So there is continuous switching between attacking and defending.
  • The players will therefore have to be alert to their teammates and the actions taking place and coach each other here.
  • If there is a back ball or the goalkeeper has the ball, the goalkeeper plays in to the side that had to stand last defensively.
  • In case of a goal, the game is played on immediately by the coach who then plays in the side, which got the counter-goal.
    • Size of field depends on number of players: Minimum width 25m, minimum length 40m. Preferably this game is played in an under/over situation.


Goal: Improve disrupting and conquering the ball. Keep pressure on the ball and conquer at the right time.
red players and 2 blue players.
Team red starts with ball, and tries to score. Coaching blue to prevent scoring.

Game rules:
  • Both teams can score on a small goal.
  • When ball is out, dribble in.
  • On a back ball or corner kick, dribble in.
  • Apply pressure by preventing the ball from being dribbled or played forward.

Points of attention:
  • Do not rush to the opponent, approach cautiously.
  • Stay face-to-face with the opponent as much as possible, do not turn your back on him.
  • Try to force the opponent to the side.


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