Monthly Archives: May 2017

Learn More About A Practice on Small Group Defending

Pressure The Game Groups of three; one ball per group. Player A rolls the ball (receiving ground balls) or tosses the ball (receiving air balls) to either player B or player C. In this example, player C must control the ball and get a completed pass to player B. While this is occurring, player A immediately challenges player C and tries to win the ball back. After successful pass, player C would then pick up the ball and repeat the activity as the defender. The defender is awarded a point for winning the ball back and gets to throw again.

Coaching Points
Encourage defender to pressure quickly after the toss. Defender needs to work hard at closing down the space while the ball is in flight.
Receiving player’s first touch should be away from the pressuring defender.
Player receiving the pass should move to create a clear passing lane.
Do not allow the receiving player to one touch the incoming toss. This is a receiving drill, as well as a drill that serves as a good warm-up for practices dealing with defenders.
Small Game: 20 to 25 minutes Activity Level: Medium progression to high Space: Defined smaller space; 3 to 5 players per group
Pressure / Cover Defending The Game 2 vs. 2 with goals marked out in the corner of the grid. Have a regular game with periods of about 2 to 3 minutes in duration and have plenty of extra balls ready to keep the game flowing.
Coaching Points: Defending Principles of Play
Pressure on the ball: Do not let the first attacker’s head come up.
Second defender must cover the goal as well as be aware of the second attacker.
First defender tries to channel the attacker into the sideline and away from the second attacker. This is easier to do since the goals are in the corners of the grid, the sidelines come up quicker.
When first defender has made the play predictable, second defender tries to double team.
Make sure the defenders stay balanced, that they do not become too spread out, enabling the attacking team to make splitting passes.
As soon as the ball is won, can they shoot? This is the best time to do so because the attacking team is not in a good defending posture.
Four Goals–End Line The Game 4 vs. 4, Each team defends two goals and attacks two goals. Having the goals on the end lines makes this game more realistic as it forces the attacking team to have more of a direction to their attack. (A good session for U-12 players and above.)
Four Goals Soccer Drill
Coaching Points: Defending Principles
Defending becomes particularly challenging since the defending team has two goals to defend, essentially turning this into a 6 vs. 4 game.
It is a good idea to first allow each team to decide themselves, where they are going to try to win the ball. In other words, are they going to challenge the ball all over the field, or will they hang back and try to only defend the space close to their own goals?
Can they channel the ball into certain areas of the field to gain possession?
Can they apply enough pressure on the ball to limit the first attacker’s options and make the play predictable?
Team Game: 30 minutes plus Activity Level: High Space: Defined for the game = larger space; 7 to 11 players per team.
Four Zones Game The Game A regular 11 vs. 11 or 8 vs. 8 scrimmage. Break the field into 4 horizontal zones. Award the defending team points when they win the ball back in a chosen zone. For example, the blue team might be given 3 points for winning the ball back in the first zone, two points for the second zone, one point for the third zone and no points for the fourth zone. This can change depending on where the coach wants the team to try to force the play.

Four Zones soccer drill

Coaching Points
Try to get the players to work together as a unit, with all 11 players aware of the defensive plan.
Can the defending team control the attacking team, making them play the ball in a certain area of the field, and then win the ball?
Make sure you give defending agendas to both teams.
Warm Down: 5 to 10 minutes Activity Level: Low, ramping down Space: General, no specific boundaries; 1 to 2 players per group
Two-sided Goal Game The Game A 2 vs. 2 game played with a two sided goal. Goals can be scored from either side. The game is a continuous flow game that is best played for 2 to 3 minutes.
Two Sided Soccer Drill
Coaching Points
A good warm-up or cool-down game to teach defending and attacking skills.
Defenders must make sure they cover the goal as well as the attacking players.
Defenders must work at channeling the first attacker away from their support.
Attacking team must be good at combination play to unbalance the defense.
As soon as the ball is lost, defending team must get goal side.
Try to attack immediately when the ball is won.

Know More The Importance of Muscle Memory in Soccer

Believe it or not, soccer and muscle memory go hand-in-hand. Since many athletes start playing the game at such a young age, it’s important for parents and coaches to make sure players learn the correct kicking techniques right at the start. Learning how to properly handle the ball will not only make your athlete a more mature soccer player, but it will also help reduce the risk of injury.

When players are able to commit proper techniques to muscle memory, they don’t have to spend time thinking about how to kick the ball—allowing them to not only keep up with the fast-pace nature of the game, but to also have fun. Instead of focusing on how to kick, they can think about the position of the other players, which direction to kick the ball and how to move around the other players on the field.

CoachUp suggests coaches and parents use these tips to help players produce the right muscle memory:

  • Make sure the top of their foot is used (not their toe) for striking kicks and that the instep of their foot is used when passing the ball.
  • Make sure they keep their toes down when striking with the top of the foot.
  • Make sure they kick the middle of the soccer ball—not the sides or top.
  • Make sure their kicking leg follows through with the kick and that it doesn’t stop short after kicking the ball.
  • Make sure they lock their standing leg so the kick is solid.
  • Make sure they properly judge the speed of the approaching ball when receiving a pass.

Learn More About Maintaining Your Offseason Soccer Fitness

Soccer, like most sports, is seasonal. There are periods of preparation (preseason), competition (in-season), and recovery (offseason).

Preseason and in-season training typically are the domain of the coach, but the offseason is largely the player’s responsibility.

What you do in the offseason can impact the next season. The old coaching adage that “it is easier to stay in shape than it is to get in shape” is true, but most players don’t know how to maintain their fitness without a coach supervising them.

You would be correct in guessing that there is a lot of research on gaining fitness, but you might also be surprised that there has been a great deal of study into losing fitness (detraining).


The first real work on detraining studied responses to bed rest and later used people who were recovering from heart attacks, surgery or immobilization. Currently, there is a lot of work on detraining as directed toward zero gravity and space travel.

Training leads to two major adaptations in the body. First is the ability of the cardiovascular system to deliver oxygen to the cells and the second is the ability of the muscle cells to use the delivered oxygen.

Research shows us is that the central cardiovascular system’s ability to deliver oxygen to the muscles improves slowly while the muscle cells improve their ability to use the delivered oxygen pretty quickly.

When training is stopped, the muscle cells lose most of what they have gained fairly fast (10 days to two weeks is about right), but the cardiovascular system detrains slowly.

You may have experienced this when you work out after being off for a short break. That first workout doesn’t feel too bad. During that workout, the cardiovascular system sort of takes up the slack from the cells that detrained so quickly. However, if you lay off for a month or more, you are starting back at ground zero in terms of endurance fitness.

Now, the question arises as to what can be done to maintain fitness what is the least one can do and still keep most of their fitness?

While you may not have thought too much about it, you know that training is a mixture of three factors: training frequency (days/week), training intensity and training duration