Shepherding Soccer Defending Drill

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Field size: 30 yards by 20 yards

Number of players: at least two players

Age range: 14-16

Description: The defender tries to force an attacker down the line but the attacker has three gates or sets of cones they can go through to win points setup towards the inside, in the other direction.  The key to this soccer defending drill is learning how to force an attacker down the line and away from the middle.

The defender wants to force the attacker down the line and not into the middle, so attacker gets points if he can cut back inside and dribble through one of the sets of cones. More points for the first set of cones.  The defender is free to win the ball outright immediately or push the attacker down the line.

Later, as players get more comfortable with the soccer drill, you can switch this to two defenders versus one attacker and open up the gates wider on the inside.

Also, try two versus two, where attackers are still drying to dribble through the gates closest to the middle and the defenders are trying to force them down the line.  Do this drill on both side of the field, so attackers are trying to cut back into the middle with the left foot and then their right foot and when being forced down the line to use the left and right feet, from each side.

Extra: In sheperding attackers on way or another, it usually depends upon where you have the most defenders and supporting players. Many times coaches want to force attackers into the middle, where it’s more congested and there are more defenders. But it really comes down to where the defender thinks he or she should force the attacker – where they feel they can best control and contain the attacker and win the ball.

Equipment needed: Cones and practice vests.

How do you stop someone like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? With great one-on-one defending. In the Kick Academy, young soccer players learn one-on-one defending from LA Galaxy Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan.

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