A Game Situation for 1 v 1 Defending

The following is an excerpt from Soccer Awareness eBook 19: The Principles of Defending for U8 to U14

Defending can be an overlooked Art in the game. Many of us love attacking play and train our teams a lot in it but to attack we need to defend well to win the ball in the first place to then allow us to attack. This book helps explain the importance of great defending and how vital it is to teach players the principles of it. These principles do not just apply to defenders per se; in this book we also teach strikers how to defend as if they win it then they are directly on goal to score. When we defend as a team everyone; all 11; are defenders and must be trained in it as when we attack we are all attackers and likewise we have to teach all 11 players to think offensively. We hope you enjoy this book and appreciate the importance of this great Art of Defending in soccer.


Divide the teams up into two 3 v 3 games with teams attacking the short side lines to score a goal. Play with one ball then two balls so there is some 1 v 1’s and also some support play. Then they attack the long sides as targets making it a little harder to defend successfully.

game situation for defending image 1

Defending In 1 V 1’s, 2 V 1’s And 2 V 2’s

Two goals for each team to attack, players have to attack 1 v 1 to score. Defenders have to stop them and try to score themselves As soon as the attack is over; the attacker becomes the defender and the other team attacks.

game situation for defending image 2

If a defender wins the ball they can attack and score but they must defend again. To score the player must be over the shooting line (5 yards out).

Develop – A 2 v 1 situation, the attacker who doesn’t finish the move becomes the new defender. The new defender must position outside the shooting zone. New attackers must begin with a pass and overlap to make it more difficult for the defenders.

Develop – 2 v 2 situation, the team who takes a shot becomes the defenders. The same rules apply as above. If the ball goes out of bounds a new team starts.