When teaching the recovery run to provide support defensively it’s important to teach the players to:
This can be worked on using the following activity.
Start with an attacking player 15 yards from the defending player. There is a second defender beside the attacker. The ball starts with a server on the side.
The server passes to the attacking player and the defender steps up to pressure
The recovering defender must sprint back to the end line before coming forward
Once the recovering runner gets to the end line, he must go through the assess. cover, communicate phases.
The first step is to take a “snapshot analysis” of the situation. This is the assessing stage. he must determine the situation, see where support is needed and what the next stage is. Too often the player just sprints forward to provide coverage and while this might be the case in this particular drill, it doesn’t prepare the player for true game situations where there are many other players and situations happening on the field.
Once the assessing stage is done, the player wants to provide coverage for the first defender. This type of support is easy to provide in this 1 v 2 situation but in a game, it might also mean providing balance if there is already adequate support (this would be determined in the assessment phase)
The next stage is the communication phase. In this activity it would mean telling the first defender he has support and which way to force the attacker. It would also involve letting the first defender know he can go in for a tackle since he has support behind him. In a real game it might also mean communicating to other players to mark specific players or to step up to compress the field etc.
The thing to understand is while I break these three things into individual phases, they must be done quickly. A player doesn’t have time to get get, stop, think for a few seconds and then provide coverage and then communicate. It’s literally a split second to do the assessment and as coverage is being provide, initiating the communication.
There is an excellent DVD on the Principles of Defending which helps players to understand the roles and decisions that need to be made in defending.