Developing Your Team to Be Able to Press & Trap

The following session comes from Tony DiCicco and was presented at the 2017 Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic. Find out more about the Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic.

Create a 4v4v4. One team defends and when they win the ball from one team, play with their teammates and the 4 other players to create 8v4. The forward's defense has to funnel the ball to eliminate wide options and then intercept central "forced" passes. The midfielder's defense is either funnel or pressure cover and the defender's defense is ONLY pressure-cover.


This exercise can also be done 3v3v3.

The keys are:

  1. Forwards funnel by moving together and eliminating passing options and making the next pass predictable.
  2. Midfielders funnel at times (ball in attacking part of the field) and play more traditional pressure-cover when ball is in defensive zones.
  3. Defenders play pressure-cover.

Another key is that players must move together as the ball is being passed.

You can have all your attacking players in this exercise or use different lines of the team so that each line knows what they are trying to do and working together.

Forwards pressing, trapping, double-teaming and countering if possible.

press and trap drill

In my defensive scheme, the defense first forces the ball wide and as the pass is made wide to an outside back, the winger no that side closes the ball quickly (but with balance, don't get beat by a dribble) and forces the pass either down the line to the flank midfielder or back to the central defender who made the original pass. As the pass is made, the double team happens and everyone moves to eliminate options.


  1. Force ball wide, then close as the pass is arriving
  2. Everyone moves on that "trigger pass"
  3. The next pass either down the wing or back to center back is the pass that launches the TRAP
  4. Once the ball is won, look to counter quickly

This game is 2v2+1 in 2 zones of the field. It us used to train 2 central backs or an outside and center back. Keys are communication, keeping the integrity of your zone and good individual defense.


When you train to pass or trap, the team is sending defenders forward so it is important that the coach trains the team to defend with even number or down numbers.

in this 2 zone game there are 2 defenders (can be central defenders; two holding midfielders or central defender with outside back on same side) vs 2 forwards and there is a plus player who plays with team with the ball.

Spread the goals to challenge the defenders and then through decision making, communication and balance of aggression and patience, help them deal with defending numbers down.

This midfield defending game plays 6 attacking players against 3 defensive players. Once the ball is won try the defense, they can counter against the 5 or they can play back to their keeper or their teammates outside the game. Once that happens, the opponent must drop 2 and defend with 3. When the ball is wide, the defending 3 should be on a diagonal, when the ball is central, the defending 3 should be in a pie shape (as shown).

This exercise is specifically for the midfield when they are also caught numbers down after a press or trap was exposed by the opponent's good possession.


  1. Defend together in a shape
  2. Shape is pie-shape when ball is central
  3. Shape is diagonal when ball is wide

Don't call off-side unless it is clearly off-side because we are working with midfielders that if runs are made behind them, generally, the runs are not off-side.