Individual defending

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Defending against a 4-2-3-1 formation

by Chris Powell in Defending

This is a session focused on defending against a particular formation. It is aimed at stopping a team that plans to attack in a 4-2-3-1 set-up. When facing a team who have the ability to pass through you or exploit spaces with their running on the ball, being unbalanced in your shape and not closing... MORE

Defending shapes

by Jimmy Bell in Defending

This session is looks at defensive structure – movement from side to side, pressure on the ball and cover from supporting players. Good defensive organisation is obviously called upon throughout matches, so these are principles that must always be practised. We believe that the unity of defenders and a shared knowledge of how to deal... MORE

Defending in and around the box

by Keith Hill in Defending

This session is about defending the 18-yard box when in control and when in states of ‘chaos’. It’s a great practice that improves both individuals and collective units, and instills rare fundamentals of the art of defending the red zone/danger zone (or 18-yard box). The reason I like this session so much is because the... MORE

Defending compact in midfield

by Alex Morris in Defending

This session places an emphasis on midfield units staying compact and being hard to penetrate when out of possession. I like to run this because although it is midfield weighted, it strongly focuses on defensive ideas, which is important because defending is traditionally a less appealing topic in the minds of players. The introduction of... MORE

Adopting a high back four

by Andy Scott in Defending

This session is about defending as a group or unit. It looks at the relationships between players and teaches them how to use recovery moves to maximum advantage. Recovering quickly and early lays the foundation for a sound defensive platform, something upon which all successful sides are built. At Brentford, we will work on this... MORE

Cutting out counter-attacks

by Keith Hill in Attacking

Analysis at the end of our 2008/09 League Two campaign showed we needed to develop a new collective responsibility to defend against the counter-attack. We knew this would increase our potential to keep clean sheets whilst also ensuring that we had players in good areas of the pitch in order to regain and maintain possession.... MORE

Match preparation

by Gabriele Cioffi in Formations and Tactics

This session is focussed on preparing players for an upcoming opponent, specifically with regard to getting them to understand their options for playing out from the goalkeeper against the exact formation they are likely to encounter. It also prepares them to play against the opposition when outnumbered in certain areas of the pitch. I like... 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

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

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

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

Defending as a back four unit

by Dave Jones in Defending

Get your back four working as a unit, whilst developing a clear understanding of defensive roles. This will create a solidity that is difficult for opposition teams to penetrate, meaning attackers can only create chances by doing something really special. MORE

Creating overloads in defence

by Darren Sarll in Defending

Get your defenders creating 2v1s at the back to restrict the attacking threat. You want to see them efficiently and effectively closing down opponents in winning the ball, negating space between the lines. MORE

Dealing with crosses

by Kenny Jackett in Defending

Get your players dealing with crosses that are played both into and outside of the 18-yard box. Heading, clearances, blocks and communication are the key areas of focus in this session. MORE

Pressing and screening

by Roy Hodgson in Defending

Get your players pressing and screening the ball with this dynamic session. It also rehearses when and where to chase, and looks at covering positions within the team, recovery runs, and good 1v1 defending techniques. MORE

Developing defenders’ confidence

by Steve Harrison in Defending

This is a defensive session that takes the form of three different practices. Each one progresses from the last in terms of how defenders are being asked to cope with ever-changing threats, both in terms of additional attacking players and a wider physical area of responsibility. MORE

Defensive understanding through heading

by Dave Bassett in Defending

Use this session to improve understanding between your defenders and goalkeeper. It teaches them how to cope with long aerial deliveries, be they from the opposition keeper or outfield players and highlights the importance of cover when defending. MORE


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