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Individual Defending

Practice Organization:

  • Half pitch including goal, with channel, width of penalty area, marked by cones to half way, set-out as illustrated.
  • Players work in 3’s, supply of balls with coach & GK in goal.
  • Practice starts with; Coach feeds ball into Attacking MF player in back half of center circle.
  • MF players to striker who looks to either come short & receive, or spin & look for pass alongside or behind Defender.
  • If A comes short & into center circle: D cannot follow so enabling A to turn & run at D.
  • If striker decides to come short & spin away from D without entry into center circle then he is marked as in a game.
  • If D gains possession: ball is returned to coach, with an accurate pass.


  • Patience, balance, speedy footwork, low body position when being attacked in 1v1.
  • Shoulders forward, weight on balls of feet to enable twisting & turning to combat A’s movement with ball at his feet.
  • Reading both intent of player in possession of ball & movements to receive ball by A.
  • Simple progressions for this practice are:
    • MF player joins-in to make 2v1
    • Add a recovering D from half way line to create 2v2

Key Coaching Points:

  • D needs to read intention of A’s movement.
  • D to track striker’s runs, remaining goal-side.
  • D looks to dictate direction of play with good position in 1v1 situation.
  • Anticipate shots, reading A’s body shape & be in position to block shots.
  • Absorb speed in 1v1 run of A by being side-on to deal with quick turn and sprint.