This session is about defensive organisation, and speciﬁcally two points: depth control and double marking.
Its importance depends on the principles contained within a team’s tactical model. The session is important for teams with a high defensive block, who allow space in behind the defensive line – this is a familiar situation in defensive transitions.
Ultimately, the coach has to work what he feels is right into the team dynamic.
While this organisation is simple in terms of training method, the complexity comes through the fundamentals of team tactics.
In the session, we go from a smaller area to a larger one in the ﬁnal exercise – giving a global application of the principles we train.
15mins for each defensive principle
15mins cool down and individual feedback
What do I get the players to do?
Each of the principles we rehearse is practised in the same way.
The ball starts with an attacking central midfielder and is played out wide.
When the ball goes dead play restarts with the central midfielder. If defenders win the ball they aim for the target goal on the halfway line.
Principle 1: Depth control by defenders
1. Reading the cross from deep defenders make a collective decision to retreat as a unit – in this way offside is a collective decision 2. The defenders must communicate at all times, moving closer together where necessary but never stretching more than 10 yards apart 3. The defenders control depth by holding their line at a predetermined distance relative to the perceived threat from opponents 4. Defensive midfielders must be aware of the space between themselves and the defence. They should try to compress the area so that the distance between themselves and the defenders is 10-15 yards, as well as denying attackers space to receive passes between the lines.
Principle 2:Controlling defensive areas
1. The full-back nearest must decide whether to press the wide player or drop back to cover. He will get the call when the central defender’s line of vision to the ball is disturbed, at which point he presses the winger. If the winger has moved past this line, the full-back retreats 2. The defenders must anticipate the strikers’ movement and move to cover all finishing areas. They must expect a striker to make a run across the near post and one central, as well as being aware of the possibility of the opposite winger moving in on the far post. They cover the areas accordingly 3. One of the central midfielders drops to cover the pull back and any late breaking midfielders. They are also well positioned to collect any second balls and launch counter attacks
Principle 3: Press the man on the ball
1. When the ball moves wide we press as a team. The nearest defender presses from in front, the nearest midfielder presses from inside 2. Double marking forces the opposition to play backwards – away from danger. Now we reorganise 3. The third man closes the simplest passing line.
• We use the same pressing and collective movement on both wings. Having successfully forced play backwards and as the opposition switch the ball to the other wing, our movements are mirrored
Application of principles trained before
Play 11v11 on a full-width pitch from box to box. Players must put into practice the elements rehearsed up until now.
Attacking moves must come from the flank, with defenders showing depth control, the skill and organisation to double mark, and the confidence to move across in closing down the threat from the flanks.
This is a continuous game played for 15 minutes. All normal laws and restarts apply.
1. Cover passing lines 2. Double marking
1. Depth control
1. Reading passes 2. Press or retreat? 3. Anticipating movement
This session examines defending in the final third, specifically through the organisation and movement of the back four. While we focus on the defence, it’s important that all players on the pitch know their jobs and are prepared for all eventualities. This is an important session for us and comes with a number of variations... MORE
This session is all about defensive positions. It looks at how players should act when the opposing team has the ball, working firstly with units and then with all of the team together.
It’s important to practise this in order to retain defensive shape when out of possession. Players need to look at which side to show, which side to mark, as well as assessing defensive distances and planning how to win the ball back.
This is relevant to every match we play in, and we practise the session each week. MORE
“…fantastic… I encourage all my coaches to read it,”