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U8 - U10

Basic Defending

Download the practice card

Tail Tag

Area – 20 x 20, Each player has a bid tucked in the back of their shorts. Play with two / three teams all separated by the colored bib.

1. The players run around inside the area trying to steal any bib from any player.

2. Once they grab a bib, they throw it out of the playing area.

3. The player who has had their bib thrown away can now put it back in and rejoin the game.


1. Now play in teams Reds v Yellows.

2. Once your bib is taken, you are out.

Coaching points:

Players are positive and face each other like you would in a 1v1 game situation.

Area – 20 x 20. Four players are on the outside of the box, 2 defenders are in the middle. The coach or server has all the balls.

1. The ball is passed to one of the outside players.

2. The outside player has to attempt to dribble to the opposite end. If he / she feel they cannot do this, or want to challenge the defenders, they can pass to another outside player. If they pass to another defender, they go back to their own end line.

3. The two defenders work together to stop this.

4. Closest defender adds pressure and shows the attacker towards their partner, who offers cover.

5. Outside players do not turn this into a passing / keep away exercise. Encourage the players to dribble towards the defenders.

6. Keep switching defenders, servers and outside players.

Coaching points:

Force the play one way. Take a good defensive stance. Encourage defenders to make the tackle. Communicate

Area 25 x 35. 4 v 4 plus goalkeepers. One player from each teams acts as a ‘sweeper’ (S) while the others form three 1v1’s.

1. Players can only attack / defend against their direct marker.

2. The sweeper is allowed to support a team mate who is defending a 1v1 to create a 1v2 (Cover)

3. The attacker can decide to beat both or can pass to a team mate who is in a better position to do something with the ball.

4. The sweeper can offer cover when defending.

5. If the sweeper ever receives the ball they must quickly pass it to a team mate.

Coaching points:

Defending the 1v1. Cover from the sweeper. Communication. Force the play away from goal. Win the tackle.

  • Decision making
  • Team work
  • Players have to concentrate on the task
  • Team mates will verbally help a team mate
  • Understanding will bring confidence
Psychological / Social
  • Competitive
  • Go, go , go
  • Reactions to defend
  • Reactions when ball is won
  • 1 v 1 battles
  • Body strength
  • Good stamina and speed.
  • Tackling
  • What you do with the ball when the ball is won.
  • Heading
  • Field awareness for when the ball is won or lost.
  • Decision making
  • Pressure, cover, balance.
  • Communication.
  • When to delay or press.
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