Game to coach defensive technique close to the goal

Using the big kick is one way to clear your lines in defence, but not always the right one. Coach the following fun game to boost defending skills close to the goal.

There are lots of ways to defend your goal. The only golden rule I have about defending is DON'T LET THE BALL BOUNCE. Once the ball bounces, the defenders have lost momentum and the attackers can follow the ball taking advantage of any weak clearances.

Here's a great way to practise defending skills – it's a great game but it also gets across a lot of what the defender must do to make it easier for his goalkeeper and team-mates to clear the ball.

One soccer coaching tip is to look out for heading and volleying techniques, as well as good team work and make sure your players are aware of what is going on around them.

Tips to set up game

Stage 1: The team in possession has seven players in their area of the field. The opponents defend their area with four players and three players in the cental zone. The team with the ball has to make at least three passes in the air before playing the ball over the cental zone landing it on the floor of their opponent’s area. This wins them a point.

The player in the central zone – player 5 – is there to prevent the opposition scoring a point by stopping the ball touching the floor. He can retain possession by making an aerial pass to a team mate and the team can play a form of head tennis.

The three players in the centre zone forming the ‘net’ must retreat into their own area and the other team must send three players in. (3, 4 & 6). The three "net" players can intercept the ball and score a point this way.

Stage 2: If the players become very good, you could allow one or two of the net players to go into their zone and put pressure on them. Two points could be scored by playing the ball back on one touch and landing it in the end zone, however failure to hit the target means a point lost.

By using this soccer training game you will be coaching your players so they can defend their goal under pressure. It recreates match-like situations that you can use as your coaching blueprint.

image shows defensive clearances game to get players defending near goal