Defending

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Back four understanding

by Iain Dowie in Defending

This overview session is about the responsibilities of the back four, and how they use distance, movement and angles in order to produce a formidable defensive unit. This is an important session for improving confidence, because a proficient defensive base acts as a springboard for the whole team, not least in a side’s ability to counter-attack... MORE

Defensive transition

by Miguel Cardoso in Defending

This session is all about the transition to defence. What do we want our team to do when we lose the ball and how do we expect our players to react? These are key questions to be answered when we think about setting principles for this moment of the game. We want players to take... MORE

Pressing initiation

by Mauricio Pochettino in Defending

This session coaches players on understanding defensive pressing. It’s important to practise the key elements to identify how, when and where we can apply pressing technique, and that includes adopting the right shape tactically and togetherness of the group, as well as being able to identify the right moment to closedown. We see the benefits... MORE

The back four

by Paul Simpson in Defending

This session is all about making sure the defensive unit is organised. A strong, intelligent defence is crucial for keeping clean sheets, and achieving that aim is halfway towards winning matches. No matter who the opposition is, there will come a time in every game when the back four will be asked the toughest of... MORE

Balancing the back four

by Andy Thorn in Defending

This session is about the back four working as a unit. It looks for them to clear the ball past a target when dealing with a range of deliveries from different areas of the pitch. It’s important to practise this because in the last 10-15 minutes of close games, opposition teams looking for a goal... MORE

Counter-pressing

by Danny Cowley in Defending

This session is aimed at influencing player behaviour on the loss of possession. We work very hard to affect player behaviour in the transition from attack to defence, as the counter-press is an important feature of our playing style. We aim to be a high energy, hyper mobile team. We see giving the ball away... MORE

Clearing defensive danger

by John Sheridan in Defending

This session is about the reactions and movements of defensive players. It looks primarily at the role of the back four in squeezing up and condensing play as they would do in a match day situation, yet also checks on how players in other areas need to adapt their movements so as to protect the... MORE

Back four protocols

by Lee Johnson in Defending

The purpose of this session is to assess and coach the specific roles of the defensive unit, to include defensive protocols, communication and recognising triggers. It’s a session pivotal to how we organise our defensive thinking at Barnsley, and although it is specific to our back four, it is introduced in the context of the... MORE

Defensive transition

by Mark Sampson in Defending

With this session, we are looking to develop the player’s decision-making ability and the execution of his/her actions in the moment that possession is turned over. Working with the players to understand the importance of balance, both in attack and defence, are consistent themes for us as a group. A key aspect of our balance... MORE

When to press and when to drop

by Nathan Jones in Defending

This session is all about teaching players when to press and when to drop as a defensive unit and it encourages them to identify and respond to the visual triggers shown by their opponents. As a practice, it allows for the consistent repetition of the key triggers but within varied circumstances, helping players to quickly... MORE

Attacking and defending transitions

by Micky Mellon in Attacking, Defending

This session is about attacking and defending transitions, focusing on the key moments when the ball changes hands. We work on how we can defend and exploit these most exciting and important phases of the game, either by building a fast attack with the support of the full backs or by playing the ball early... MORE

Press & protect

by Paul Buckle in Defending

This is a simple defensive session that encourages players to press high and press aggressively. It also conditions players to respond with speed to a successful turnover of possession, resulting in quick counter-attacks. The players really enjoy this session, as it’s fast and intense and it relies on quick reactions. When their team is in... MORE

Penalty box battles

by Dave Jones in Defending

Defending is a skill that needs practice, as much as dribbling or passing. Within that, it’s vital that players win their 1v1 duels, particularly in and around the penalty box. When we look back over matches where the team has emerged victorious, we’ll often find that our defenders have performed the defending principles well. We... MORE

Low block & emergency defending

by Matthew Bishop in Defending

Most teams will employ the low block at some point during a season. The key principle of this session is to block the middle of the pitch, starve the opposition of space in terms of vertical lines and prioritise showing the opposition wide. MORE

Defending – individual, unit and team

by Mick McCarthy in Defending

This session is a straight competition between defenders and attackers. It takes the principles of defending as individuals, in units and as a team, whilst also encouraging forwards and midfielders to engage, thus making it as realistic as possible for defenders. MORE

Defending crosses

by Mark Bowen in Defending

Use this session to develop the decision making and positional awareness of defenders when faced with a variety of dangerous balls crossed into the penalty area. MORE

Improving the defence

by Phil Parkinson in Defending

This session begins with simple 1v1 and 2v2 defending exercises in order to rehearse players in the basics. It then progresses through practices designed to show defenders how to deal with attacking wide players and how to prevent crosses. MORE


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