PREPARING DEFENDERS TO PLAY EFFECTIVELY IN A ZONE DEFENCE
GRID 15m x 12m
5+ BALLS, 4+ CONES
X1 Starts with the ball, and moves it laterally outside one end of the grid, looking to make a pass to X2
X2 leads in back half of the grid, change of direction and speed to create and move into space to receive pass.
O2 plays zone positioning in front half of grid, to deny passing lane to X2. O1 directs O2 with simple, clear commands: “Step Left, Step Right, Left Shoulder, etc”
X2 can move anywhere in the grid (including towards passer X1) if unable to get pass in behind - but is trying to get open in behind the defender.
Once the ball is passed into grid, all players are active/live. X’s are trying to possess the ball across the line at the back end of the grid. O’s try to dispossess and counter back through the line at the front of the grid.
Play out 1v1/1v2/2v2 situations until one team is successful or the ball goes out of the grid
After this turn, the ball goes to O1. Repeat drill in the opposite direction, this time with O’s attacking and X’s defending.
Transition: Reacting to contested possession or change of possession immediately is important with such a small space.
Ball position: X1 should have ball out in front of body in passing position in order to have good vision and be ready to release the pass immediately once X2 is open. X1 can track laterally with the ball, but making sure eyes are up and ball stays in front.
X2 must be sharp with movement and change of speed and direction to create space to receive. X2 should watch the defender
O1 should provide clear and strong direction to O2, helping him to position correctly to deny the pass.
Commands should be identified and discussed so your team understands clearly. For example:
“Step Left” means: “Step Left”!
“Right Shoulder” means: “be aware of the pass just to your right”
“Coming Left” means: “attacker is cutting back for the ball on your left side”
It is important that a defensive unit works together. In this situation there is a joint responsibility for O1 to communicate, but for O2 to listen to the commands as well as checking visually.
O2 should keep body angled to either side to maintain vertical vision and also recovery speed on the turn if ball gets past. Important to avoid getting hips/feet “squared up” facing forward.
LTT: Play in a wider space, easier for attacker to get open.
TTC & TTW: Increase (double or more) the side of the grid and add another attacker and defender inside the grid. This will require more complex communication.