Simple session on 1v1, 2v2 and defending

I used a really simple session with our U9s tonight as I wanted to start working on a few basics of defending but I was also aware of the weather and wanted to keep them moving at all times. With this in mind I went with a setup (see low quality image below) which meant we worked on the basis of continuous 1v1s which allows for lots of dribbling & experimenting with skills on an attacking point and with the setup it also had the boys thinking about defending space as they had two goals in which they could score.

The setup:

  • 8 players
  • 2 “zones”
  • 4 goals in each zone
  • 1v1 – players had to run through the goal and stop the ball to score a point



How I managed / progressed the session:

  • Began with 1v1s, the only conditions were that you had to stop the ball between the goal posts to score a point and I wanted to see LOTS of skills used. I always encourage players to learn new tricks and practice them.
  • Players rotated partners / opponent every 3-4 minutes, new partner = new challenges (both as an attacker and defender)
  • I stepped in to encourage dribbling at speed as young players can end up walking quite slowly with the ball and I wanted the attacking players to be positive and ensure they introduce a turn of pace
  • I then worked on defensive positioning and I worked on their body shape. That is, “skateboard” position, defending side on. I provided an example and then had the players try it unopposed to make sure they could actually do sidesteps moving backward
  • We then continued the 1v1s but with the focus almost completely on the defenders body position, which they picked up pretty well and almost immediately found it effective
  • We continued to rotate players, I praised where I saw excellent defending side on and I also helped players work on changing their positioning – e.g. not facing the same way at all times and being able to rotate as the attacking player moved
  • The session then progressed to 2v2s, but with a slightly longer pitch area. Again, focus was on defending position but it also gave opportunities to coach where two defenders were leaving a player free or not doing any defending at all.
  • Further rotation of 2v2 and then the session ended in a game

Very simple, very easy to progress, continuous dribbling and 1v1, 2v2 defending practice with focus on defending in a side-on body shape. Good session, enjoyed by players and very little time spent standing around listening to me!



About Simon
Grassroots Football Coach

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