Hope you are all doing well.
Our sixth week is officially in the bag with our 6-7/8-9 group working on 1 v 1 defending and our 10-13 age group working on 1 v 1/2 v 2 defending.
Here are the coaching points below:
All Age Groups (6-7 Focus on 1 v 1 Defending):
Main Coaching Points
1 v 1 Defending
1. Close down and curved run (get out to attacker as quickly as possible and block off goal)
2. Slow down (to help get into defensive stance)
3. Go down (get into defensive stance - side on and show the attacker away from the goal)
4. Stay down (bend your knees, get nice and low to stay agile with wherever attacker goes)
5. Be the Thorn (always let the attacker know where you are, stay an arms length away and if the attacker gets past you, never EVER give up)
2 Times the Defender has the Advantage:
1. When the attacker takes a bad touch (get a challenge in, make sure 100% you can win the ball)
2. When the attackers back is turned to his own goal (PRESSURE and do not let them turn)
2 v 2 Defending
- Support and cover - one player goes to the ball (I got ball!), the other supports the front player and blocks the goal while also watching their own player
- Peripheral vision for the supporting defender - look in the middle of both the player you are marking as well as the ball. Need to see both and not just one!
- Supporting defender tells front defender which way to face (show left or show right). This way if the attacker with the ball beats the front player, the supporting player has an easier job stepping to the ball.
- COMMUNICATE - always need to be talking to one another in any given situation when the ball gets passed and one player has to behind to cover etc.
6-7 Age Group:
Comments from Coaches
For this age group, the key focus was on coming out quickly to the attacker and once we get to the attacker, slowing down and getting our defensive shape. The toughest aspect for players will be to have the awareness of the where the goal was that they were trying to protect but if they were able to get the 5 stages down, that was in part a massive success to us.
Stage number 4 (stay down) and stage number 5 (be the thorn) can be hard as they need great concentration to stay in your defensive stance and to never give up even if you get beat. If you see your child in a game coming out to defend the ball and then slowing down, thats a great start. Always make sure when you are defending, your defensive stance is side on and not facing the player with your shoulders facing them (legs wide open).
8-9/10-13 Age Group:
Comments from Coaches
For the most part in terms of the 1 v 1 defending, we had some pretty good success and players were working very hard. One point which was not mentioned above however is that when you get out quickly to get to your player and then get into your defensive stance, you DO NOT want to get flat footed. We saw a lot of players get beat because they were doing everything correct but then made that silly mistake. When you are flat footed and the attacker takes one touch past you, you are in deep trouble and will have trouble recovering especially against a faster player.
Players need to remember to force a player to go outside and away from their goal but some players were a step away from truly 'forcing' their player to go one direction. Players need to realize they cant give a step or two inside and cannot get into the habit of allowing players to come inside and let strikers shoot (even on their weak foot).
We need more captains, more leaders and with time, we want to work on players using their voices a bit more and getting out of their comfort zones. One of the keys to defending is communication and defending as a group as players cannot do it by themselves. Talk, help get your teammates organized when they are out of position and watch both the player and the ball if you are the supporting defender.
Well done to all!