Coaching Points Of Individual Defending – Closing Down

The following is an excerpt from The Ultimate Youth Coaches Training Guide; A Complete 6 to 10 Year Old Developmental Coaching and Training Program.

This program is perfect for youth coaches wanting practices to start their soccer coaching education and it is also for those more advanced and experienced coaches wanting to train their players as best they can at these wonderful open minded ages for development and education of both the mind and body. Our plan is to help all coaches at whatever level of experience they are at. Find Out More


1.  Travel as fast as possible as the ball travels to close down opponent.

2.  Close the opponent down with a curved run forcing the player the way you want them to go (if you have time to do so).

3.  Slow down the last few yards, get balanced, bend knees, sideways on stance forcing the play your way, and slow the attacker up (making play predictable).

4.  Feint to tackle – use your front foot this forces the opponent to protect the ball and ultimately look down at the ball and away from you the defender (also prevents awareness of where support players are in a game situation).Try to steal with front foot.

5.  Watch the ball not the player so you aren’t thrown by body movement.

6.  Stay on your feet and be patient, your chance will come to win the ball if you go to ground you give the initiative to the attacker

Defending In A 1 v 1 Situation

defending in a 1 v 1 situation

7.  Think about the way you want to player to go, it can be onto your opponents weakest foot or to the side you are strongest and most confident to tackle on. It can depend on the side there is less space to work in for the attacker to restrict their movement and options and to make play predictable.

8.  Encourage the players to not only win the ball but also to maintain possession of it if they can. In this session they can win it and try to score into the other goal as a reward for gaining possession. In this instance both players will get a chance to practice defending in the same sequence.

Session Plan

  1. Receiver (A) tries to score through defender (1)’s goal. Work both sides and alternate numbered players and lettered players.
  2. All players get the chance to attack or defend.
  3. Encourage and praise good defending.
  4. Correct the faults.
  5. Step in and demonstrate to show the players what is needed if required, demonstration is better than explanation.