Defending

No way past!

Objective: To practice individual tackling and defensive skills. Age group: U7s to U12s. Set up: Create a 20-yard square with a goal at one end. Three or four defenders stand next to the goal and three or four attackers stand at the end of the playing area opposite the goal. How to play: On your […]

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How to teach tackling

All your players, including the goalkeeper, need to be good tacklers. Apart from the fact that your players need to be able to win the ball back from an opponent wherever they are on field, being able to tackle instills confidence in young players. There’s very little in football as satisfying as taking the ball […]

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Stop the shot

Objective: to encourage your defenders to keep attackers out wide and not dive into the tackle. Age group: U10 upwards. Set up: Play this game on half of a small-sided pitch – about 30 yards long by 25 yards wide – with a goal at one end. Divide your players into two teams: defenders and […]

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Under arrest

This game is a great way to improve your players’ marking skills. It also helps your players learn how to get away from a marker and make space for themselves as well reinforcing the need for a good first touch. Age range: U8s and upwards. Set-up: two teams of four play in an area 30 […]

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Pot black

Objective: To improve passing and receiving skills, teamwork and defending. Age Group: U6s to U10s. Number of players: Twelve (but is easily adapted for larger or smaller squads). Equipment required: Some flat cones, training vests, one ball. Set-up: Create a 20×15 yards playing area with six small gaps around the edges (the “pockets”) as shown […]

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Knock out soccer

Objective: to practise passing, shooting, defending, switching play, communication and teamwork. Set-up: create a large, circular playing area. For 10-year-olds, I suggest the circle is about 40 yards across. Evenly space three or four goals around the edge of the playing area. Divide your players into teams of three or four. Goalkeepers are optional. How […]

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Overload

Objective: To improve attacking and defending skills, both individually and as a unit. To practise overload situations (3v2, 4v3 etc) and improve decision making. Age group: U10s and upwards. Difficulty: Easy. Set-up: Create a suitable size pitch with a goal at each end. For U10s, I would use a 40 yards long by 30 yards […]

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Three games that improve defending skills

Improving your players’ defensive skills is probably the quickest and most “cost effective” way to boost their confidence and improve the performance of the team as a whole. And it doesn’t have to be boring! The games I’ve described below are simple, effective and fun ways to help your players stop opponents from scoring. What […]

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