Soccer Defense Coaching

  1. Practice Games That Teach Defense. There are several practice games in SoccerHelp Premium that help teach defense. The best for teaching a Zone Defense and team defending for ages 8-12 is "Defend The Goal & Clear Game". A variation for ages U-11 and up and young travel teams is "Chip Shots/Brave Defenders". Three other games that help teach defense are: "Attack & Defend Ball Tag", "Shoulder Tackle & Strength On The Ball Game" and "Small Sided Scrimmage Without A Goalie". All of these games are effective, efficient, teach important skills or concepts and everyone is involved. Also, they are all great fun, except the "Shoulder Tackle" game, which is more of a teaching technique than a fun game (however, it is a great way to teach shielding, shoulder tackling, strength on the ball and winning the ball, all of which are very important and will make a great difference in your team's play).
  2. How To Teach Defense. How to teach defense is explained at (all are in SoccerHelp Premium unless noted):
  • "How To Teach Soccer Zone Defense" (overview and simple rules to guide defender's decisions so they will stay in the correct position)
  • "Assigning Soccer Positions", section "e" (8 tips about defense and selecting defenders, why players with good ball skills aren't always good defenders, how to put slower, less skillful players at Fullback and make them successful individually and as team members)
  • "10 Soccer Defense Tips & Tactics For Rec Teams", numbers 6-10 (why it is easier to build a good defense than a good offense, teaching First Defender/Second Defender and a basic zone defense, terms to teach your defenders, winning the ball, 3 simple "rules" you should teach your Fullbacks to guide their decisions)
  • "Quick Team Improvement Program", numbers 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 (First Defender/Second Defender, rules for positioning and shifting, how to teach clearing the ball, simplifying the role of your Fullbacks so they don't get confused, how to avoid giving up goals on breakaways, guidelines for Stoppers and Defensive Midfielders, Formations and Styles of Play that work best for most Recreational teams)
  • "41 Tips, Tactics & Strategies", numbers 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 (where your opponents will most often score from, the area your Fullbacks must defend, clearing the ball, how to clear the ball from your half of the field and counterattack, defensive positioning and movement)
  • "Shift & Sag" in the Dictionary (positioning and shifting with the ball)
  • "Support" in the Dictionary (First Defender/Second Defender and rules to guide defender's decisions)
  • For how to teach one vs. one defense, see "Marking, Jockeying, Shepherding & Defensive Footwork"