Defending – 1’s, 2’s, 3’s & 4’s • Defending can sometimes be overlooked by coaches or when braved it can appear sterile, over-organised and/or where the defenders are perfectly positioned and favoured numerically (which may not be reflective of the game.) • The session here seeks to offer practices that create a variety of situations that defenders may face and encourage repetition of these scenarios that support players, of a variety of ages and abilities to equip themselves, with the coach’s help, for defending and to look at situations where players can practice defending as an individual, a pair and finally as part of a team. The following situations are covered: • Defending against an opponent who is receiving the ball • Defending an opponent who is running at you • Defending when out of balance/disorganised • Defenders making recovery runs • The transition from defending to attacking • Goalkeepers role in defending the goal • Whilst the session follows a progressive three practice plan; identify where your players focus of work should be and then consider which challenges from the challenge list you want to focus your players play towards (remembering that not everyone has to be working on defending – e.g. Session 2 – pitch 1 – try to support in an on-side position & pitch 2 – try to get a shot off early). • In all of your work you may wish to consider: • Do the players ‘Like the Games’? Practices that are enjoyable and motivating often lead to a more sustained, focused practice ethic. • Are the practices ‘Like the Game’? Do the sessions encourage the players to practise in a way that looks like it does in ‘The Game’ of football.
Defending – Variety of Situations • Individual Defending – Repetition Circuit • Pitch 1 - Server plays into attacker who attempts to beat red and score in goal – server becomes attacker and attacker retrieves their ball and joins end of other pitch. • Pitch 2 – Blue attacker runs ball onto pitch – defender deals with attacker running at them – attacker retrieves ball and joins end of other pitch • On pitch 1 - If attacker scores without using support players (yellows), 3 goals. If attacker uses support to score, 1 goal is scored. Pitch 1 Pitch 2 • Defending in Two’s • Pitch 1 – Blue server plays in to blues who attack to score past GK • If Red’s regain, score by playing into the blue server who then dribbles onto pitch to make a 3 vs. 2 • Pitch 2 – Blue dribbles ball onto pitch to make 2 vs. 2. As blue enters the pitch, red at back of servers box recovers onto pitch. Red’s score by regaining and dribbling into servers box. Pitch 1 Pitch 2 • Back Four • Four vs. three + GK in defensive third of the pitch & 3 vs. 2 in midfield • Red’s trying to defend goal . If they regain, break into middle area and score into goal • Try to keep at least one of your team in midfield area • Encourage general flow of game to allow realistic situations to occur
Challenges + Coaching Points to help your Players • Notes for Coaches • Try to use the challenges to help the players to decide the best thing to do for the situation • Try to select challenges that fit the area of work • Try to recognise which player(s) needs a new/different challenge (recognise when to stop the whole group and when you can speak to an individual • Allow players to choose their own challenges (even if it doesn’t link directly to the theme (so it’s their own syllabus)