Intercepting the ball is an alternative to tackling so your team can regain possession to set up an attack. This soccer coaching session is about learning how to read the play – predicting when and where the other team will pass the ball so players can move to intercept.
What players need to think about in the drills
- Mark goal- and ball-side.
- Stay within touching distance.
- Keep ball and receiver in view.
- Slightly sideways-on body position.
- Anticipate the pass.
- Does passer’s eye or head movement give away intentions? Is the receiver set? Are their checked runs predictable?
- Don’t get turned.
- Jockey – move from side-to-side to hold up the player – if ball can’t be won.
How to run the soccer drill
- The server stands at one end, with the defender standing behind the attacker at the other.
- The attacker is passive but is allowed to move from side to side.
- The defender anticipates when the server will pass the ball to the attacker and tries to intercept it by stepping in front of the attacker.
- Switch roles during the drill so everyone has a go at being the defender.
How to develop the drill
Remove restrictions on the attacker's movement. The attacker can now look to receive the ball by moving towards the server and then turn to dribble over the end line.
The defender must be able to react to forward movement from the attacker to stay close enough to intercept. If they are unable to intercept the ball they must try to tackle the attacker before they cross the line.
Click here for more soccer coaching tips on tackling skills.