Soccer coaching drill to stop attackers turning

Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand is regarded as one of the best in the world in his position. He combines pace, height and an instinctive defender’s intuition to make life difficult for even the most unpredictable of frontmen.

This drill helps protect against every centre back’s nightmare – being turned by an attacker with his back to goal.

How to set it up

Play 1v1 in an area 10 yards square with one server, one defender and two target players.

Getting started

  • Once the soccer ball is served to the attacker, he must attempt to turn the defender and pass to one of the target players. The defender must use his body position to prevent the turn, win control of the ball or knock it out of play.
  • Keeping his body between the ball and the defender, the attacker needs to lean on the defender and roll around and past him.
  • At the end of the move, restart play with the attacker receiving another pass from the server.

The key elements

  • The defender needs to make sure he is within touching distance of the attacker as he receives the ball from a server. Touching distance means an arm's length away, so there is little room to turn.
  • When the attacker is half-turned, he is unable to properly screen the ball. It is at this moment that the defender should be tackling.
  • Advance play by adding a second defender and a third target player. The target players on the side of the square move up and down to give the attacker more opportunities to pass.
  • The defender, tight to the player, tries to show him towards the second defender making it hard to find a target player.

Why this drill works

We’re all aware that the modern game is less physical than at any point in its history, but that doesn’t mean that the subtle impact of man-to-man marking doesn’t still exist. On the contrary, players are using the smallest amount of physical pressure to maximum advantage.

This is a simple, yet vital, soccer drill that allows your defenders to be primed and ready to repel the threat of a slippery frontman.

This session originally appeared in Soccer Coach Weekly. To find out more and subscribe click here.

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