Group Defending - tucking in and off-ball positioning

  • Organisation

    Equipment needed:

    • 4 sticks

    • 4 cones

    • 2 goals

    • 3 different colors of bibs (2x5 and 1x1 each color)

    • 10-12 soccer balls

    Pick 2 teams with 5 players each and add 2 goalkeepers and 1 neutral player. The width of the field marks the entire pitch with the length being about 35 meters. Additionally, mark 2 wide areas and 1 core zone. The middle zone has a width of 35 meter.

  • Process

    Both teams will play each other in the main area of the field. The neutral player only assists the team currently in possession. If the ball is played into one wide area of the field, the defender closest to the ball steps and the defender on the opposite side tucks in. He can't stay in the wide area!


    If the offense scores and the defender hasn't tucked in to suppport the back four, the goal counts as two.

  • Tip

    Defending team:

    • Joint press and defensive line stays tight

    • Tucking in to have a majority of players in the centre of the field and near the ball

    • Communicate and one touch clearance

    • Intensity in pressing sequences and outnumber opponents


  • Field size

    Length: approx. 33-35 meters

    Width: approx. full field (middle zone approx. 35 meters)

Training Set

Main point


25 min


U19, U18, U17, U16


Man-marking towards the ball, Pushing, High pressure from forwards, Wing play with opponents, Man down/Man up, Tactics


Quick understanding of danger


Soccer-specific endurance

Training Organization

Number of Players

13 or more playersr

Form of Training

Team training

Skill Level


Participating Players

Whole team


2 goalies


Defensive behaviors

Spatial Behavior

Double penalty box

Training Location

Asphalt, Grass field, Turf field

Author: Tom Pilarski

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