Defending in twos soccer drill

This soccer coaching drill looks at two defenders working together to stop attackers. The coaching session tests players' ability to communicate and support when attackers are running towards goal, and when they receive the ball with their backs to goal.

The soccer drill covers these main coaching points:

  • Defending in pairs.

  • Providing cover.
  • Forcing the direction of play.

Key soccer coaching tips:

Do the players work together? Who presses the ball? Who covers?

While one defender presses the ball, the other should cut off the space behind by taking a position goal side and slightly to one side of their teammate.

The defensive positions should channel the attacking pair away from the goal towards the corners or keep them moving sideways.

Soccer drill session to get two defenders working together to stop attackers.

How to run this soccer drill

  • Mark out an area 30 yards x 20 yards, using four cones. You need a goalkeeper, two defenders and two attackers. You can vary the number of attackers to make it easier or harder for the defenders.

  • The goalkeeper rolls the ball out to the attackers who are facing the goal. The defenders must stop them scoring by tackling, forcing the attackers to shoot from distance, forcing them out of the playing area or by holding them up for a certain length of time (say 30 seconds).

Develop the drill

To develop the soccer drill, once the first attack has concluded, the coach passes a second ball into the attackers. The defenders should be marking closely behind and they now have the opportunity to stop the attackers scoring by denying them the opportunity to turn. The development tests their close marking skills.

Add a second goal to the playing area. Now, the game runs continuously until either a goal is scored or the ball leaves the pitch. If the defenders win the ball from the attackers, they can break out and attack the second goal.