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Author: Sam Snow National Youth Certificate Course Topic: First Defender


Author: Sam Snow National Youth Certificate Course Topic: First Defender

Lesson Plan Age: U14 3 1v1

1-on-1 training activity

10 x 15 yard grid. D plays a pass to A and then goes to defend. A tries to dribble across the opposite goal line. Activity ends when D gains possession or dispossesses A. When the ball goes out-of-bounds or when A dribbles over the goal line. Then the next pair (E & B) goes on. Have three pairs per grid to have a work-to-rest ratio of 3 to 1 so that when the players go on they can go 100%.

D is there an angle you cold use to approach A to help you force him one-way?

D if you go at A too fast what happens?

D if you go at A too slow what happens

D how should you run at A for the first few yards?

D how should you run at A for the last three yards?

D what should be the position of your feet and the posture of your body when you are close to A?

4 4v4 GAME

With or without goalkeepers play a 4-on-4 game.

30 x 20 yard grid. Let them play a small-sided game. Remind them during the flow of play to think about how to defend as the 1st defender. Look for coachable moments to ask guided questions in order to improve they abilities as the 1st defender.

Are the players recognizing when they should be the 1st defender?

Are they communicating with one another on who should take on that role?

Do they recognize when the roles have switched and another teammate should now step up to be 1

st defender?

Author: Sam Snow National Youth Certificate Course Topic: First Defender

Lesson Plan Age: U14 5 8V8 MATCH

7 field players and a goalkeeper on each team.

60 x 40 yards grid. Play a match and focus on the execution of the players when in the role of 1st defender.

With larger numbers on the field are the players quick to recognize when to be the 1st defender?

Do they anticipate when a teammate may be beaten when in that role and they will need to step in to take over as the 1st defender?

Are they tackling with the correct foot?

Are they patient or dive in?

Do they communicate with one another?

Do they defend the ball or the space behind them?

Body posture?

Speed of approach?

Angle of approach?

Tracking runs?

Do they recognize the differences in defending 1v1 on the flank and the center of the field?

Lesson Plan Age: U14


Activity Name



Purpose/Coaching Points


Follow ACL reduction/prevention warm-up from U. S. Soccer – parts 1 & 2

Active range of motion

Rhythm & balance exercise


2-on-2 match to 5 points

15 x 20 yd. grid with tall cones set diagonally across from one another on the goal line. Players try to knock over cone with shot. Only one cone can be knocked over at a time. Five cones are set up on each goal line 1 yard apart from each cone and the first team to knock over all of their opponents’ cones wins. Let the players play one full round before any coaching. A & B versus C & D. E is the coach with spare balls to put into play when needed.

Ask the players what they need to do to defend in this game. Guide them towards:

• Communication

• Control & restraint

• Body posture

• When to tackle & when to contain

• How to tackle