D1. DEFENDING 1v1 Part 1 – Pressure the Ball

D1. DEFENDING 1V1 Part 1 – Pressure the Ball
1hr 45min
“Goals prevented are just as important as goals scored. If the other team can’t score, we can’t lose”Julie Johnston American soccer player and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion
Warm Up/Agility 10 mins
Dribbling the Gates
Set a number of gates up throughout half of the field like below. Each gate should be 2 yards wide.
Have half the players wear white and the other half blue. Have a white and a blue player match up with each other with one ball per pair. This is simply a 1v1game where the players try to score points by dribbling through as many gates as they can. The white player starts with the ball and tries to score as often as possible in the first 1 minute half. If the blue player wins the ball, then she tries to score goals. The only restriction is that the players can NOT dribble through the same goal two times in a row. After 1 minute half, they rest (and stretch) for a minute, then play the second half with the blue player starting with the ball.
With a team of 16 players, there will be 8 games of 1v1 going on at the same time. This will encourage the players to dribble with their heads up (or run into each other). At the end of the second half, you might let the winner rest for a minute while the loser suffers some type of consequence such as push-ups.

The key is to turn this into a very competitive match. The next game should feature a white winner matching up with a blue winner and also have the losers match up with each other. You can do this three times and get a very strenuous work out going.

Small Sided Game 15 mins
4v4 Attacking & Defending One Goal Line
  • Setup 2 teams of 4 inside players, 2 wide players and a GK
  • Use the real width of the pitch
  • Mark up outside channels for the wide players4v4 game where players play freely inside. Each team has 2 support players on the outside.

  • Decision making to go to goal or play wide
  • Decision making of wide players to go in, dribble or use support


  • Apply good pressure on offensive players
  • Choose right moment to regain possession

  • Wide players must take the defender 1 on 1 to play the ball inside for a goal
  • Wide players have the option to dribble inside to create 5v4 situation
Technical/Tactical 50 mins
1 v 1 Triangle Defending
  • Create multiple 2 yard triangles
  • Players pair up (red/white) and are assigned a triangle, one ball b/n the two. The defender (white) starts inside the triangle with a ball. The attacker (red) stands 5 to 7 yards outside the triangle.

White passes the ball to red and quickly moves out to defend. Red tries to dribble through the triangle. Attackers get 5 points for dribbling through the triangle. Switch roles after each attack. Keep score!

  • Immediate pressure to the ball (“close the space”)
  •     Speed of approach (Fast first couple of steps, but slow down as you approach the attacker)
  •     Get side on (“steer the attack”)
  •     Soft on your feet, knees bent, weight slightly toward your back foot
  •     Patient defending (“Don’t dive in”)

  • Play promotion relegation. Winner moves up, loser drops back.
  • Groups of 3, Rotation, Defender to Attacker, Attacker to Resting, Resting to Defender.
1 v 1 Fast Break Attack to 2 Goals (focus on defending)
 Red attacks the white defender.  He tries to score in either of the gates (Pugg goals are the best).  Once Red is successful, scoring or taking a shot, the first white player in line immediately tries to attack the Red teams’ two goals.  The initial red attacker quickly recovers “transitions from offense to defense” (Pictured below).  When a player wins the ball during the initial 1v1 he/she tries to attack the opposing teams’ goals.  
  • Immediate pressure to the ball (“close the space”)
  • Speed of approach (Fast first couple of steps, but slow down as you approach the attacker)
  •  Get side on (“steer the attack”)
  •  Soft on your feet, knees bent, weight slightly toward your back foot
  •  Patient defending (“Don’t dive in”)
 When the opponent has scored or taken a shot you (the defender) join the end of your line.  Players that are “off” should always have a ball at their feet ready to begin the “fast break attack”.
Small Sided Game 30 mins
  • Two teams with goalkeepers.
  • Playing field of 40x20m
  • One goal at each end
Regular play with minimal coach intervention.

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