Upgrade Your Defense With These 5 Soccer Drills
Defending is one of the most important skills in soccer. Whether you're a player or coach, a beginner or a veteran, defensive drills are crucial to improving essential abilities and increasing the chance of winning on match-day. Defending drills in soccer not only improve physical abilities, but also help develop mental toughness and strategic thinking that can be applied during a game. In this blog, we will be discussing five defending drills that can take your soccer defense to the next level. Whether you're a coach looking to improve your team's defense or a player looking to refine your individual skills, these drills will help you and your team become better at defending. Let's dive in and explore six great defending drills in soccer.
1. How To Shield The Ball - Part 1
Shielding is critical for defenders, because once the defender has the opportunity to get their body between the attacker and the ball, they must be able to hold the attacker off while getting the ball under control and making the right decision for their next play, whether it be a pass, dribble, or clearance. This soccer defending drill helps players start to get comfortable with the fundamentals of protecting the ball.
2. How To Shield The Ball - Part 2
This drill builds on the previous shielding drill, by having the defender also find their teammate with a pass after holding off the opponent. This is an important addition because once a defender is comfortable with the basics of shielding, they must learn to do it while also creating space and finding a pass. Every defender should practice this skill until they are comfortable enough to use it in a match, as it will be relevant in every game.
3. How To Defend Against A Dribbler
This soccer defending drill uses FITLIGHTS to train players on closing down a dribbling opponent. Best of all, it improves decision making even though it is done individually without needing an attacking player. The drill has four fitlights that will light up in a random order. The player will close down the light, as if closing down a dribbler, but they will decide which side to force the attacker to based on the color of the light. This gets players in the habit of closing down an attacker in a deliberate way that forces them in a more advantageous direction for the defender, such as from goal, away from teammates, or onto their weak foot, depending on the situation.
4. How to Defend Against Crosses
Defenders will have to deal with crosses every game, so it’s very important they have enough practice and understand how to respond to the different types of crosses they are likely to face. This drill exposes them to varying speeds and heights of crosses. Attackers can also be added to the activity, making it more realistic and also a great drill for offensive players as well.
5. How To Defend A 2v1
Defending a 2v1 scenario is a unique challenge where the defender must focus on delaying the attack, cutting off the passing lanes, and forcing the play away from their goal. Experience in this situation is critical for defenders to be able to deal with this circumstance during a match, as a 2v1 is one of the most dangerous attacking situations. Make sure to only only rehearse this drill, but also incorporate the tips given in the video. The practice of the correct technique and strategy are essential to successfully defending a 2v1 situation.