Stance and Balance for Individual Defending

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the FineSoccer Drills Newsletter. Today's featured activity works on defensive stance and individual balance while defending.

Coaches frequently talk about defensive stance and the need to stay low, balanced etc. The thing that frequently gets neglected is the approach and how the defender should get from running toward the attacker to the good balanced stance. This activity will work on this important part of defending.

Start with a group of attackers near the midfield line, a group of defenders on the end line, a keeper in goal and a server out wide with some balls.


The server starts by passing a ball to the attacker.


The defender sprints out to get into a good defending position. The further out he can get, the better he will be.


While the defender is coming out, the attacker starts dribbling to goal and this becomes a 1 v 1 to goal.

It's easy to look at this activity and think this is just a standard 1 v 1 game to goal. The thing to remember is the big emphasis is on the defensive approach and positioning. If the defender gets to close it's easy for the attacker to dribble right past him.


If the defender stays too far back it's easy for the attacker to progress unimpeded.

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The defender has to approach and take into consideration the first touch of the attacker (if it's far away from his feet he can continue to approach at speed but if the ball is at the attackers feet he has to start slowing down).

A big emphasis needs to be that when the defender makes the decision to change from approaching the attacker to getting into defensive position, he needs to be on the balls of his feet with the momentum going backwards. Too often the defender will get caught flat footed or leaning too far forward which will give the attacker the opportunity to get past the defender. When the defender makes the decision to get into position he should end with a hard feint forward, landing on the balls of his lead foot and then push backwards to have momentum going back. With this feint the attacker will feel pressured and might lose possession or might think there is a stab coming and try to push the ball past the defender. If the attacker tries to push the ball past the defender, the defender is already going in that direction AND will be closer to the ball than the attacker. This type of activity will allow the defenders to work on this stop, feint and retreat.

Vary the angles, and the locations of the server, the defenders and the attackers. This also means occasionally having the defender starting much closer to see how that affects things.

Make sure all players have turns attacking and defending, regardless of their regular position.

Have a great day!


By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

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