5 Effective Group Training Drills for Defenders
Proper training is essential to being a better defender on the field. Before you get out onto the field, you need to use effective training in order to hone your skills.
All of these drills should be done using a flat backline with either 3 or 4 defenders. In a flat backline, center backs are standing next to each other not one in front of the other.
Here are 5 effective drills that will spark improvement in any defender.
1. Group defending in shape
In this drill, you have 3 attackers pass the ball around on the ground and try to penetrate the line of defense. The attackers can make various runs and the defenders have to verbally and physically organize to keep them from being able to play the ball in behind.
This helps work on organization and just getting a feel for how the defensive shape moves together.
2. 1v1 defending in shape
This drill is designed to work on 1v1 battles and having other defenders get into covering positions quickly.
Start by having one attacker dribble at one of the defenders as that defender steps up to defend. The defender who is stepping is listening to the directions his other defenders are giving such as “force right” and the whole defensive line is shifting into place to prevent gaps.
This ensures that even if the attacker gets by the first defender, another one is there for back up.
3. Defending set pieces such as corner kicks or free kicks
In this drill, the focus is on defense in and around the 18-yard box. This drill should also have attackers but the focus is on defending and getting the ball out of danger.
The defenders should be verbally organizing each other and making sure the most dangerous people are marked and win the balls that are served in. When the defense makes a good clearance they should also focus on getting their line to push up the field quickly and together.
4. Clearing under pressure
This drill is designed to help defenders learn how make good clearances under pressure.
The drill is set up near the sideline and you are standing about 5 yards away from your coach, facing him or her. The coach tosses the ball in over your head and you have to turn, chase it, and be able to turn and clear it in just one or two swift motions.
This is to practice for when the ball inevitably gets over the back line and you are chasing it in your own defensive end. You have to turn the ball to the outside and clear it down the line.
Progressions of this drill can include adding someone to put pressure on you as you are trying to turn and clear. You can also limit yourself to one or two touches.
The goal is to try to clear the ball as quickly and accurately as possible while staying calm.
5. Drop step drill
In this specific drill, defensive line is in formation and there is an attacking player serving balls in the air to different spots in and around the 18-yard box. This drill is just to work on your footwork.
With drop steps, you never completely turn your back to chase the ball. Drop steps are used when the ball is in the air and you are trying to judge where it’s going to land so you can win it before the other team does. Doing this allows you to keep sight of the ball and have your body facing it at all times.
It’s a little detail but it makes a big difference when it comes down to making a good clearance.