Defending 1v1

In the run up to Christmas I thought I would take the opportunity to post the twelve session plans I completed for my FA Level 2 course, starting off with the first of my four linked sessions based on defending.

Key Factors:

  • Body position
  • Delay the attacker
  • Reduce the space
  • Make play predictable


Players line up at opposite ends of a 20×30 area. Players pass the ball across the area to their partner and then follow their pass to jockey the attacker, working backwards to the start line. Then the players swap roles. Progress to having the defenders forcing the attacker either to the left or the right.



Set up the players as per the diagram below. with 4 players and a goalkeeper in a 30×20 yard area.  Start by having a defender misplace a pass to the attacker, the defender then has to prevent the attacker from scoring. One pair in each half plays, while the other pair waits. Condition the attacker to beat the defender before taking a shot at goal, or some attackers will take a shot straight away.  Change the players roles halfway through this part of the session, so everyone gets to be the defender.


Small Sided Game: 

Play 4v4 + Gks  in a 40×30 grid. The game starts and restarts with a misplaced pass from the team you are coaching. The emphasis is on coaching defending 1v1, but don’t forget to effect all the players in the defending team when you step in to coach.




If players struggle with the session restrict the space the attackers have by making the space smaller, if the defending players find the sessions to easy increase the width of the playing area.

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One thought on “Defending 1v1

  1. Really good session although I would add that as part of defending 1 v 1 you also have to have an element where you have to defend when the attacker has his back to you and you have to prevent the turn. Perhaps in the skill phase have the defender pass into the attacker in the other half to get a pass with back to goal.


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