Back four defending soccer drill

Use this defending football drill to coach defenders so that when one of them steps up to head a ball away, the others will be ready to move into the space left behind him.

Football drill to coach basic defending skills

Set up defending soccer drill

  • Set up this soccer drill in half of the pitch - it’s a good soccer (football) drill for all ages, and for 7-a-side as well as 11-a-side.

  • Use only three defenders for 7-a-side games.

  • Have two wide players to cross in balls and the coach stands in the middle to give a variety on the angle the ball will come in at.

  • All balls are aimed at the central defenders.

How to coach defending drill

  • Defenders step up behind header.

  • Tell the two wide defenders to push in as soon as the central defender moves forward to attack the ball, so the amount of space for the attacking team is shut down.

  • Look for co-ordination of movement between the back four to cover the space behind the player.

What you want to achieve in this coaching session

  • What you are trying to get across to your players is that the defenders must step up and move together when they are defending crosses into them.

  • You want your players to develop balance and rhythm.

  • You need to coach the technique for clearing the ball.

Key defending football tips

  • Encourage communication between the back four and the goalkeeper.

  • Look for good balance between the defenders covering the space behind the player attacking the ball.

  • Tell your defenders to step up behind the ball after it has been cleared.

Click here to order a copy of the Perfect Defending manual, which has 67 easy-to-coach defending soccer drills.

Click here for a defending soccer (football) drill, which aims to coach defending as a unit.

Soccer coaching tips


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