Football/Soccer Session (Academy Sessions): RSA Red Bulls - Individual & Small Group Defending.

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Ayodeji Ogunlade, Adult Member

Profile Summary

Ayodeji Ogunlade
Name: Ayodeji Ogunlade
City: Hamilton, New Jersey
Country: United States of America
Membership: Adult Member
Sport: Football/Soccer

Description

The session is designed to develop players’ defensive qualities as individuals, in pairs and in unit.

1. Technical Warmup -  During the technical warmup, a pair of defenders work to apply pressure and provide defensive cover as the ball moves from one player to another. The technical warmup is not completely unopposed; the defensive pair are required to shadow-defend as the ball passes between pairs of players.

2. 2v2 to Goal - This practice builds upon the technical warmup, as two defenders work against two attackers in a small-scale, competitive setting. The practice further develops the principles of good-quality pressing and covering that are introduced in the technical warmup.

3. Defending 4v4 - The focus remains on players’ defensive qualities, this time in the context of defending as a collective unit.

4. 4v4+2+GKs - This practice practice challenges the team out of possession to defend utilising all the defending techniques and skills that were learnt in the first three practices in an underload situation.


Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Activation

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Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Activation
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Activation

Organization:

Set up playing area as shown.

Instructions:

1. The activation starts with a 4v2 rondo as shown, the four red players look to make five quick passes, each player has a maximum of two touches. If the 2 defenders win back possession or forces an error to get the ball out of the playing area, they will look to replace the player that gave the ball away and the player to the right of the player that gave away possession or that the error was forced on, both players now look to go back to the un-opposed passing zone. If they don't win back possession after five passes, they will look to go into the 3 players passing zones with both defenders heading into a different 3 player passing zone and look to defend against the 3 players to play a 3v1 mini rondo. Once a defender touches the ball, the red player that gives up possession or that the error was forced on returns to the starting zone. If a defender doesn't manage to win possession after five passes inside the 3v1 rondo, they automatically returns to the starting zone.

2. Once 2 players returns to the un-opposed passing zone, 2 players at the start of the un-opposed passing zone go through the hurdles and go into the 4v2 rondo box to defend, win back possession or force an error.

Coaching Points:

1. Quick feet through the hurdles.

2. Sprint into the rondo box to hunt the ball.

3. Look to pressure and cover when defending as a pair.

4. Run through attacker when defending alone.

5. Strong mentality to win back possession.


Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Technical Warmup.

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Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Technical Warmup.
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Technical Warmup.

Semi-Opposed Passing / Defending Practice (Pressure & Cover).

Organization:

Set up playing area as shown.

Instructions:

•The technical warm up exercise starts with a series of passes are played between the players as shown in the diagram with the ball progressing from the practice’s start point. Two passes are played between each pair of players (reds) before the ball is played to the pair next in line. 

• As the ball is played from one player to another, the two defenders (blues) must adjust their defensive positions accordingly. 

• The defenders are to work as a pivot; when one applies pressure (without making an attempt to win possession/tackle), the other must take up a covering position on the appropriate mannequin.

• As the ball changes sides, the two defensive players’ roles – as pressing player and covering player –changes.

• As the ball reaches the end point, the red players should work the ball back toward the start point using a variety of straight and diagonal passes. 

• As they do so, the two defensive players should adjust their positions accordingly, ensuring that one player is covering the appropriate mannequin. This simulates the recovery runs that centre-forwards might make in a game

• Once they have completed one set up and down the playing area, and returned to the start point, the defensive players change with a pair of reds players, who then become the defenders for the next set.

Coaching Points:

COMMUNICATION 

• The second covering defender, who is generally positioned on a deeper line than the pressing player, should encourage the first defender to press the ball aggressively as it is switched from one side of the practice to the other. 

DECISIVENESS 

• Players should make quick decisions as to which player is best positioned to press the ball as it shifts from player to player. 

• This decision should make it clear that the non-pressing player must take up a covering position behind theappropriate mannequin. 

SHOWING INSIDE OR OUTSIDE

• The covering player should dictate to the pressing player whether they are to show inside or outside.

• This dictates how the pressing player positions themselves. Showing outside would cut off the passing line between the player in possession and the mannequin being covered. Showing inside would cutoff a route down the outside.


Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): 2v2 to Goal

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Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): 2v2 to Goal
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2v2 to Goal

Organization:

Set up as shown.

Instructions:

This is a competitive 2v2 practice that takes place in a small playing area, at the start of the exercise the players are divided into two groups in a mini team of twos.

• Exercise starts with two defensive players (blues) as shown in Diagram 1 – are confined to their own specific lane, as denoted by the line. The defenders are not permitted to cross lanes. 

• The two attacking players (reds) in Diagram 1 – are allowed to switch lanes, although they must not be in the same line at the same time. They should attempt to score in the mini-goal, while the defenders must attempt to intercept, block, tackle and win back possession to score in the two counter goals. Once the attackers lose the ball or a goal is scored, the attack ends. 

• Once the defending pair have defended two balls against one pair of attackers, they move to the back of the attacking queue. At this point, the attacking pair become the defenders and a new pair of attackers enter the playing area.

• Changes of personnel should be quick and the practice should not lose its flow.

Coaching Points (Defenders):

COVERING DEPTH 

• The non-pressing player in the defending pair should ensure that they are positioned in such a way that they block the line between the ball and the goal (a constant reference point). They should be deep enough so that the ball cannot be played between them and their defensive partner. DEFINITE DECISIONS 

• As the ball is played from one attacker to the other, the defending players should not hesitate in moving from being a covering defender to one who is pressing. 

FRONT-FOOT DEFENDING 

• The defenders should try to pinch a couple of yards as they anticipate the ball being switched from one player to the other. 

• Their body position should be low and side-on, and enable them to react quickly and aggressively to as witch of play. 

CUT THE GOAL OFF 

• Both the pressing and covering defenders should use the goal as a reference point that dictates the position they take up relative to the ball. 

• Their position should be such that the line between the ball and the goal is blocked for whichever attacker is in possession.

Coaching Points (Attackers):

CROSSOVERS 

• The pair of attackers should be encouraged to cross lanes in order to present the defenders with a problem. This tests the defenders’ ability to communicate and remain disciplined.

• Speed of play i.e. ball speed, quick passes, quick moments on and off the ball e.t.c.


Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Defending 4v4

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Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Defending 4v4
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Defending 4v4

Organization:

Set up as shown.

Instructions:

This is a six-goal game set up as a 4v4. As a progression from the previous exercises, the players are divided into four teams of four with two teams playing and two teams resting. 

• The focus is geared toward scrutinising how well the four defenders are able to work as a collective unit to defend three goals. 

• Each time a goal is scored or the ball goes out of play, a new game starts with the attacking team becoming the defending team while the original defending team returns to the starting line to wait their turn to play as the attacking team. 

• The yellow cone & yellow flags represents the restraining line / offside line.

Coaching Points (Defenders):

PRESSURE, COVER AND BALANCE 

• The defending player nearest the ball should apply aggressive pressure by getting to the ball as quickly as possible. The remaining three defenders should take up good positions that allow them to cover and balance but still be aware of the movement of the other three attacking players. They should not find themselves square of the pressing player. 

COMMUNICATION 

• The covering players should provide the pressing player with clear information as to which way they should attempt to force the attackers’ play. This helps the pressing player be decisive and make definite decisions. 

DEALING WITH AN OVERLAPPING RUN 

• Should a defender find themselves in a 2v1 situation –pressing the ball-carrier but noticing an overlapping run– they should prioritise tracking the movement of the runner or blocking the goal. This is a cue for the nearest covering defender to engage the ball-carrier. 

CUTTING OFF PASSING LINES 

• As well as taking up a position from which paths to goal can be blocked, players should also be encouraged to block passing lines to opposition players as they press the ball.

Coaching Points (Attackers):

• The pair of attackers should be encouraged to cross lanes in order to present the defenders with a problem. This tests the defenders’ ability to communicate and remain disciplined.

• Speed of play i.e. ball speed, quick passes, quick movements on and off the ball e.t.c.

• Variety of runs i.e. overlap, under-lap, third-man runs and decoy runs etc.

Progression:

1. 4v4+2GKs.


Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): 4v4+2+GKs

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Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): 4v4+2+GKs
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4v4+2+GKs

Organization: 

Setup as shown. 

Instructions: 

The players are divided into three teams of four at the start of the small sided game, they will look to play a 4v4+2 game whenever they are in possession. Out of possession, the defending team will look to defend in an underload situation (4v6). Whenever a goal is scored, the winning team stays on while the losing team goes off and the resting team comes on to play against the winning team. In the event of a draw, the team that won the last game stays on.

Coaching Points: 

• Previous coaching points when necessary.

• Pressure, cover and balance. 

• Connection between the functional unit i.e. defensive unit. 

• Counter attack quickly upon winning possession. 

• Communication.


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Movement
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Pass
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Pitch Line 1
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Shaded Pitch Area

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