Defensive Block - Game related

Exercise description:

Area – 34X25 with two 12x25 yard end zones and a 10x25 yard center zone. Good for 12, 15, or 18 players split into 3 teams. Two teams are in each end zone and a defending team in the middle zone.

1. The coach plays the ball to the blue team.

2. Two defending yellows enter the area. The blue team keeps possession and attempt to pass the ball to the opposite red team. They can pass across after 4 or more passes.

3. The defending yellow team makes play predictable. The two players inside the end zone press the ball while the other three cover and balance and block passing lanes. They move into one half of the middle zone and work as a defensive unit behind the ball.

4. The ball cannot go above head height.

5. The team that loses the ball, becomes the defenders.

Variation: Switch defenders

Coaching points:

Team-work and communication

Positional sense, angles, the balance of the three players in the middle zone.

Intended outcome:

  • To encourage teamwork.

  • Improve communication, angles of support, and reactions.

  • This exercise instills togetherness. It gives players the belief, that working as a unit can be difficult for the opposition.

  • Improve the reactions in the transition, A>D, D>A.

  • Decision-making is needed.

  • Possession team, go through, around or over?


You can now pass the ball over head height and there is no limit to the number of passes.

Technical / Tactical:

  • Body shape, defensive stance

  • Angle of support

  • Pressure, cover & balance.

  • Quality passing

  • Target players looking for gaps in the backline

  • Communication

  • Reactions


  • Be ready to interact with teammates.

  • Communicate.

  • Applaud good play and work ethic from teammates.

  • Offer help if you understand the exercise

  • Have fun!


  • Always work at game speed

  • Be ready to explode into a defensive block.

  • Be ready to pressure.


  • Be ready to focus and react in the transition

  • Embrace failure.

  • Remember the instructions of the exercise. 

  • Decision-making can only happen if we are open to finding answers.

  • Gain confidence

Possible Performance Problems:

The middle three forget to move into half of the middle zone.

The possession team tries to force the ball to the next group.