Defensive Transition Mentality: Winning the Ball Back

This session was presented at the 2018 Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic by Bobby Muuss, head coach of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons men's soccer team. Find out more about the Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic.


Description: 5v2 in the grid. 4 attacking players around the outside with one player central. Play several rounds. First with no points, just attacking group tries to keep the ball as long as possible, and see if they can get a rhythm. Progress to playing a game where the attacking group gets a point if they can connect into the central player and back out to the outside. It only counts as a point if the central player connects with someone other than the person who played it into them.

Keys: The two need to work together to make the grid small, and cut out passes to the central player. Key for the attacking group is constant movement from the central player, and keeping the ball moving quickly around the outside to find opportunities to penetrate.

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Description: Group of defenders wait behind the gate. 3 enter at the start and defend against 7 attackers. When they win the ball they can go to either of the goals. Attacking team is trying to keep the ball, 7 passes = 1 pt. After a goal is scored or the ball goes out, a new three defenders enter the grid, but they can't enter until the 3 exit through the gates.

Keys: Work hard to close up space as a group with good technique. Do not get split and lock the game to one side. Once a goal is scored or the ball goes out, how quickly can the defensive group transition to get 3 new players on?

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Description: 7v7 +1 in the grid with a target on each end. Each team can only use their attacking target. Receive a point by playing off of the high target and then connecting with a 3rd man runner in the end zone. If a team gets the ball into the target, they are rewarded with possession when starting the new ball. Ball comes from coach on the sideline. Play a 3-3-1.

Keys: Work in lines to press the opponent and deny central passing lanes, look to counter to the target when you win the ball, and track runners to deny passes to 3rd man runners from the target. On the attack try to break down the opponent centrally.

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Description: 3 team possession. Whichever team loses possession defends against the other two.

Keys: Closing the space defensively and making the field smaller. Attacking, moving the ball quickly and trying to find the switch.

Description: 10 v 8 going to goal. Defensive group with 2 lines of 4. When defensive group wins it, they try to find one of the counter goals for a point. Ball is entered from coach at midfield.

Keys: Stay compact and cut out central passing lanes defensively. Keep the attacking group wide, and track runners on service. Keys for the attacking group are constant movement off the ball and keep the ball rolling. Can we penetrate centrally instead of settling for wide play?

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