By Matt Settles
Coach Settles recently completely his 11th season as a high school coach in Indiana. The former collegiate player at the University of Southern Indiana is also a regular contributor to the Soccer Toolbox.
There are tons of soccer drills that any soccer coach can set up during a practice session. It’s very easy to have a great idea and plan only to see it fall apart because it’s too complicated. One of the easiest and most beneficial drills any soccer coach can do is to set up a 4 v 2 drill. There are lots of benefits and plenty of areas to focus on with your players. Whether you are using the drill as a warm up or working on specific areas, don’t lose track that one of the easiest drills may be the most beneficial for your players and team.
Start with a 10 x 10 (yards) grid marked by cones. There are 4 players on the outside or on each side, which are the offensive players. The two players in the middle are the defenders. You can have these players defend for a certain amount of time or set up a rotation where the defenders switch to offense once they win the ball. There are several important areas to focus on with 4 v 2 drills:
The 4 v 2 drill is a keep away game, so the focus should always be on possession with the offensive players. If you have a more experienced group of players, challenge them to connect a certain number of passes which counts as a goal. Also, use a touch restriction so the offensive players are forced to play quickly. Encourage the offensive players to move on the outside to create passing angles and communicate constantly to help their teammates.
Defenders Working Together
The two defenders should constantly be working together to get the ball back. Talk to your players about the 1st and 2nd defender roles and responsibilities. The 1st defender should be providing pressure and forcing the ball in one direction. The 2nd defender should be supporting and communicating to the 1st defender. Make sure they are staying connected and not getting split by passes. This is a great opportunity to work on defense and stressing the importance of smart defending to win the ball back.
Technical Skills in Live Setting
It’s great if your players can pass, trap, and receive a ball with no pressure, but can they do these things during a game with a defender on their back? The 4 v 2 drill allows players to practice in a live setting and this experience will always be beneficial for games. The offensive players should be opening their bodies as much as possible so they have multiple passing options available.