Football/Soccer Session (U11): U14 Session 1 : SSG - Defending in a 4 Man Zonal Defence

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Paul Inns, Adult Member

Profile Summary

Paul Inns
Name: Paul Inns
City: Newtown
Country: United Kingdom
Rank: Elite – 7 points
Membership: Adult Member
Sport: Football/Soccer


Encouraging Defenders to retain a 4 man zonal defence shape; allowing left/right backs to push up and attack, provided they regain the defensive shape once possession is lost.

Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Screen 1

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Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Screen 1
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Screen 1 (10 mins)


Create a pitch as above.

Split players into two teams of - 10 Blue (4-2-3) and 8 Red (3-2-2).

Blue team to be coached.

Divide the pitch (60x30 yards) into 4 equal channels running from goal to goal.


To assist Defenders to retain their defensive shape.


As indicated above, all Blue defenders are restricted to playing only within their own channels.

Blue 6 & 8 are conditioned to remain within the two central area only (shaded area).

Defenders are encouraged to get into defensive shape as soon as possession is lost, and to defend zonally, with the First defender pressing the opposition player in possession; the Second defender tucking in as necessary, and the Third and Fourth Defenders remaining compact - the unit shuffling from side to side depending on the area of play.

When doing so, touch upon role of 6 & 8 - principally to defend Zone 14 - don't get drawn out wide! Work as a team, sitting in front of the back 4.


1. To generate realism, left/right backs are encouraged to play within the entirety of their channel; Left/Right back are encouraged to regain their defensive shape, upon losing possession, and the unit as a whole is encouraged to retain their shape generally when possession is lost - in a 4-2 formation.

2. To generate realism, allow defenders to enter the channel(s) adjoining their own only.

3. Remove all channels, with defensive players being encouraged to regain shape upon losing possession.

Coaching Points

1. What if LB attacks down the channel - where does the RB locate?

2. What if the other team attack down the wide channel? Dog leg shape.

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Pitch Line 1
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Shaded Pitch Area
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