Soccer coaching game to get defenders reading the pass

Closing players down quickly is an important part of defending. Pressing the player with the ball is much easier if the defender can reach their opponent as soon as they have possession. This means they need to read the pass so they can begin their run towards the opponent. This soccer coaching game gets your players practising this skill.

Soccer coaching game to get players anticipating the pass

No man’s land soccer coaching game

  • Using the penalty area, mark out an area the same size opposite with a 10-yard "no man's land" in between the areas.
  • Play 5v5 with a goalkeeper, two defenders and two attackers on each team.
  • Put two attackers from one team and two defenders from the other in each half.
  • Players must stay in the half they start in.
  • Toss a coin for kick off, play starts with the goalkeeper.
  • Restarts are with the goalkeeper if the ball goes over the end lines, no corners. Take throw-ins as usual.
  • Play is continuous – when a team wins the ball they look to pass and attack the goal.
  • Attackers must create space for the defenders to pass to.
  • Defenders must try and win the ball from the attackers.

How to advance the game

  • The passing player can follow the ball into the attacking half.
  • Widen "no man's land" to 20 yards to make passing and timing of runs harder – do this by moving the orange area back 10 yards but keep the areas the same size.
  • By making "no man's land" wider, you make the pass longer, giving the defenders more time to see the ball and close the attackers down.
  • It also means that it will be harder to make the pass accurate because the player will need to think about power.

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