Soccer drill to improve 1v1 defending

This soccer coaching session is about improving your players' skills to defend in 1v1s by getting into a good starting position and dictating the direction of play. These soccer drills will make better defenders and show players how to reap the rewards of winning possession.

You are looking for players to react quickly and press the ball but not jump in too early and let the attacker knock the ball past them.

Soccer drill session to get players defending in 1v1

Soccer drill set up

  • Look at the diagram and set up the soccer (football) drill using a 10 yard x 10 yard grid.

  • The attackers take turns to dribble across the area and the defender tries to stop them.

  • If tackled or forced out on either side of the area, the attacker takes the role of defender.

Advance the soccer drill

You can progress the soccer drill as in the second part of the diagram so that if the defender wins the ball or forces the attacker out of the area, they are rewarded with a free shot at goal.

At the end of the soccer coaching session, play a normal small-sided soccer (football) game. If a player is struggling with the principles of 1v1 defending, take them to one side and go over the skills covered earlier in the session. Point out those who are adopting the correct position.

Get more help with your soccer coaching sessions by subscribing to Smart Sessions, edited by Tony Carr, academy director of West Ham United in the English Premier League. You can get core and advanced Smart Sessions coaching plans dropping into your inbox every week by clicking here.

Click here for a soccer (football) drill to work on 1v1 skills. 

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