Defending as a team is critical to success on the pitch. In the video clip below Tony Massie, a Celtic Soccer Academy coach, leads his 6 v 6 drill as part of his Defending as an Individual and in Pairs demonstration. Coach Massie is an experienced coach in youth and academy soccer with his current role as the International Soccer Academy Manager for Celtic Football Club.

This drill is set up with two teams of five players on the field with goalkeepers. The grid is approximately 50 x 30 yards which could be adjusted as needed to either create a tighter space or more room for the players. Coach Massie discusses several important points during the drill:

Team Shape

The shape of each team is critical to how they play on the field. If outside backs or midfielders are moving across the field to the opposite side or if forwards are coming all the way back to defense, the team shape is not good and needs to be addressed. The best teams will find these holes and attack them so the proper shape should be the main focus point for every team.

Force ball sideways and backwards

Coach Massie instructs each team to force the ball sideways and backwards when they are on defense. The purpose of this is that the ball is not going forward or penetrating the defense. If the offensive team is passing the ball sideways and backwards, but not moving forward, the defensive team most likely has a good team shape and is marking properly.

Communication from goalkeeper to field players

The goalkeeper is the one position on the soccer field that can see everything going on. They should be communicating to the backs and defenders, who can then communicate with the midfielders. The mids can pass the message onto the forwards and now the whole team has the same information. The best goalkeepers are talking constantly during a game and can be a huge asset to your team if they know how to communicate effectively and at the right times.

This drill is just a sample of Coach Massie’s presentation at a recent Glazier Soccer Clinics for information about gaining access to his entire presentation, as well as hundreds of other clinic presentations, click the link above

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