In the video clip below Randy Waldrum, former head coach of the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team and current head coach of the Houston Dash, runs a session on Defending 4-3-3. This drill is set up in a 25 yard long area that extends from sideline to sideline on a field. There are two teams with seven players each. The defensive team has four backs that are playing in a flat four shape with three midfielders in front of them. The offensive team has one defender or center back with four midfielders in front. These players are set up with two center midfielders and one wide or outside mid on each side. Two forwards are in front of this line even with the defenders from the other team.
There are several important areas to focus and work on during this drill:
Midfielder Covering Outside
Coach Waldrum breaks down how the closest defensive midfielder to the ball should be moving to close down the outside player while the ball is traveling. By moving early, this midfielder is closing down space and providing pressure. The other midfielders are able to shift across during this time and mark up so the team keeps a good defensive shape.
This drill does not work without communication from players on the field. The defenders and midfielders should each be working together while keeping good balance on the field. Constant talking about where players are moving, how to force the ball, and proper marking should all be part of the communication happening on the field.
Game Like Practice
This drill allows both offensive and defensive players to train in a game like setting. You can do all the drills you want, but the players ultimately must understand how it all works and comes together on the field as a team.
The video is courtesy of World Class Coaching YouTube Channel. The YouTube clip below has sound, so please make sure that your sound is turned on and that you access to the site. Some schools block access to YouTube.