Defense is a vital part of the game of soccer and managers and coaches must keep their players sharp in defending their goal. To keep your practices sharp and fresh here are some soccer defense drills to try out with your team the next time you are on the training pitch.

These defensive soccer drills are good for players of all ages and can be used as youth soccer defending drills or as basic refreshers for older and adult players. Now on to the videos showing some very useful defensive soccer drills to improve your players and team.

The Best Soccer Defensive Drills Explained

1 vs 1 Defending

This first of our defending drills for soccer is an individual drill that shows how you should quickly close down the ball while staying “side-on” or goal side in order to shepherd the attacker in the direction you want them to go.

This drill requires a coach (to pass the ball into play) and just 2 players (an attacker and a defender). The coach will pass the ball to the attacker and the defender will close down the attacker as soon as possible while staying side-on.

Repeat this drill over and over in round robin order with players acting as an attacker and a defender at some point.

This is a simple yet effective drill to teach basic individual defending and is especially important for full-backs as this drill is one of the best defensive back drills for the modern fullback with wings being so important in today’s game.

2 vs 1 Defending

In the second half of this video (2:45 to 4:00) is a similar exercise to the one above but adds the wrinkle of two attackers vs one defender.

Cones are set up in a 10X18 area with defenders on one side and attackers on the other. The defender passes the ball to the attackers and the defender tries to force the attackers away from goal while trying to win the ball back.

This is one of the better individual defending soccer drills you exercise, as it puts your players under pressure in a game like situation.

Defensive Positioning

This drill video is all about defensive positioning and knowing when to close down an attacker. This drill requires two players (one defender and one attacker) a ball and three cones spaced 20 yards apart. The attacker will start on a far side cone and dribble towards the defender who starts at the middle cone.

The defender will practice dropping back in a proper defensive position before deciding when to close the defender down and attempting to win the ball.

This is one of the important soccer defensive tactics to understand because closing down the ball is not always the prudent thing to do. A defender must be aware of the situation and make the proper decision to close down or not depending on their position relative to other players.

The benefit and key of this drill is to know the proper time to close an attacker down so you do not lose defensive shape allowing too much space behind you.

Small Sided Game

Small sided games are designed to condense space and give players more touches on the ball. This small sided game focuses on the use of a sweeper defender in front of the goal keeper that is only allowed to touch the ball three times before he must pass. The rest of the players are matched up 1 v 1 in the midfield and they must continue to mark each other. Watch the video for a complete breakdown of the setup and operation of this small sided game.

The rest of the players are matched up 1 v 1 in the midfield and they must continue to mark each other. Watch the video for a complete breakdown of the setup and operation of this small sided game.

This drill focuses on pressing in the final third and individual marking but within the framework of real game situation making it different than the drills above. This is one of the better tactical soccer drills because it puts your players in

This is one of the better tactical soccer drills because it puts your players in game like situations while training, allowing them to play quicker and more confident in actual matches.

Box Drill

This is the last of our defense soccer drills and this drill involves 6 players: 4 attackers and 2 defenders. Four cones are set up creating a good sized box with an attacker on the outer edge of each side of the box. The two defenders will stay on the inside of the box.

The two defenders will work as a team to force the attackers to keep the ball on the outside of the box. The attackers will try to dribble through and split the defenders.

Summary: Soccer Defensive Tactics

Why is it Important to Practice Defensive Drills?

The above drills will not only improve the defensive performance of your individual players and team but will also add some variety to your training sessions. So watch these soccer defense drills and take good notes and before too long your side will be conceding no goals.

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