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Deny & Delay

Exercise Description:

Set-up as shown. Yellows are defending the goal and have all the soccer balls. Groups of players have placed themselves on either side of the goal. The blues are positioned 25 yards from the goal. Player A starts with the ball.

1. Player A dribbles on the field and passes the ball to player B.

2. Player B passes to one of the Blues. Yellow player B then has to sprint to the orange line and then recover to help yellow player A.

3. The two blues enter the field and play a 2v1 with yellow player A while yellow player B is recovering to make it a 2v2.


Key: Deny and delay the attack because we are out of balance; force the play away from the goal. Quick recovery run.

Coaching points:

The defender forces the play away from the goal and slows down the attack. The recovering defender moves quickly and gets in a position to help.

Intended outcome:

  • To teach the players to deny and delay an attack.

  • Teamwork is essential in this exercise.

  • Improve the decision-making of the defenders.

  • To gain confidence in dealing with numbers down.

  • To improve the defensive stance and forcing the ball away from the goal.

  • To get them ready for the game.


You can make it a 3v2, 4v3 and just keep building it up until you are going half or full field.

Possible Performance Problems:

The first defender will be eager to dive in and attempt to win the ball.

The play is not forced away from the goal.

The pass to the two attackers is made too late.

Be ready to focus

Keep scanning the area and visualize playing in a game.

Accept mistakes - Find solutions

Coach your teammates


Applaud good play

Be ready to pass or receive the ball


Be willing to move

Make the tackle

Defensive stance

Force the play away from goal

Slow down the attack

Make the tackle when ready

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