Defending Outnumbered

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, here is the third of my four linked sessions based on defending.

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Key Factors:

  • Deny space
  • Make play predictable
  • 1st Defender must get close to the ball quickly
  • Decision making
  • Communication


Players play 2v1 in 15×15 yard grid. The objective for the 2 attackers is to dribble the ball across the end line, the objective for the defender is deny space and delay (or stop) the attack for as long as possible. Play starts with a pass from the defender. Rotate players regularly in their groups.



Played in a 30×15 area, players play 3v2. As before the attackers objective is to get across the end line.  defenders defend the goal  as before, starting with a misplaced pass from the defenders to the attackers.  Rotate the players regularly. Ensure the second defender offers support.


Small Sided Game: 

Play 4v4 + Gks  in a 40×30 grid with two floating players playing for the attacking team. The game starts and restarts with a misplaced pass from the team you are coaching. The emphasis is on coaching defending when outnumbered, so include the position of the floating players in the picture you paint when you step in to coach but don’t forget to effect all the players in the defending team.



If players are struggling with the session spend more time developing the technical aspects of defending in outnumbered. If the defenders are finding it easy increase the number of attackers.

When I ran this session I made a note that if I ran this session again I would ensure that I matched the players abilities better in the technical phase.

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