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Basic Defending - Pressure, cover & balance.

Exercise description:

Area: 16 x 12, split into two 6 x 16 areas. Four mini goals and the coach has all the balls. Players are lined up by the goals and are only allowed to play in their area.

1. The coach serves in the ball to a blue. This triggers a blue from the other zone and oranges that are diagonally opposite to enter the playing area. A 2v2 is played.

2. Orange defender makes a curved run and forces the play inside and pressures the ball. The other orange defender offers cover and also protects the goal in their zone. A goal can be scored on any of the opponents goals. This makes orange cover the goal.
3. Blue attacker decides to pass to their teammate. This now triggers the other orange defender to pressure and one to cover.
4. Once the round is over, the coach serves in another ball.

Coaching points: Pressure and cover, defensive stance, communication, force the play (make it predictable) compete. Work on balance if you add the third zone.

Intended outcome:

  • To teach pressure, cover and balance if you add the third zone.

  • To compete in a 2v2 situation and understand your positioning.

  • Improve the reactions in the transition.

  • Body shape and defensive stance of the defender. Which way are they going to force the play? To the sideline or to their teammate?


Add a third zone if the ability of your players allow it. You are now working on the balance of the defensive three.

Possible Performance Problems:

Defender does not get there quick enough. When the ball is played to the opposite attacker, the defender in the opposite group does not drop back.

Players forget that they can score on either goal.

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

React quickly - Pressure & cover

Defensive stance - Get low

Make play predictable


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