Teaching 1st Defender without Opposition

Chris Johnson 145,051 Views Rating 3.76 (71 Reviews)

This soccer defending drill is excellent for teaching young players how to defend when they are the closest player to the opponent with the ball.

Soccer Drill Diagram: Teaching 1st Defender without Opposition

Soccer Defending, Soccer Teaching 1st Defender, First Defender Soccer, Teaching First Defender

This soccer defending drill is excellent for teaching young players how to defend when they are the closest player to the opponent with the ball.
Drill Setup

  1. You will need the attacking third of a field with a full-size goal. The goal is necessary to focus on the defensive player's positioning between the ball and the goal.
  2. Split the team into two groups of defenders who start on both sides of the goal.
  3. Two attacking players are positioned outside the penalty area on both sides of the field, with a ball.
Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach's command, the first defender from each line closes down the attacker.
  2. The defenders should focus on a fast, controlled approach while positioning their body between the ball and the middle of the goal.
  3. At this point, the defenders are not trying to win the ball but working on the speed of the approach, body posture, and positioning.
  4. Let every player go 4-5 times or until they are comfortable with approaching the attacker.
Drill Variations

  • Have the defenders start with the ball, pass to the attacker, and focus on the same items above.
Drill Coaching Points

  • Fast, Controlled approach to close down space quickly.
  • Good body posture with bent knees, slightly leaning forward with the weight on the balls of the feet, hips slightly turned so that the defender is not flat, hands up, and eyes on the ball.
  • Make sure the defender's body positioning is between the goal and the ball.
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