The Art of Passive Defending

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the FineSoccer Drills Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on passive defending and looking to penetrate in the attack.

Start with a 30 x 20 grid with 2 goals on each end line that are 3 yards wide. There is a midfield line and 2 teams of 5 players.


The teams try to score in either of the two opposite goals. As soon as a team loses possession all of their players retreat into their defensive half of the field.


The defending team will allow the attacking team as much possession as they want as long as the attacking team stays within their own defensive half of the field. The defending team tries to stay compact and take away as much space as possible.

The attacking tries to attack quickly before the defending team can set up or, if they can’t accomplish this, they will work the ball around constantly probing for an opportunity to penetrate with the pass, dribble or shot.

If the attacking teams struggle, you might want to consider adding a neutral player who is always on the attacking team.

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This will give the attacking group a numbers up situation which will make it easier to penetrate. Once the attackers start doing better, remove the neutral player to force them to figure out how to do this in an even numbers situation.

Have a great day!


By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

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