Grassroots Coaching

Defending – Multi Goal Game

This is a conditioned, fast moving, intense, multi goal game, designed to encourage players to co – operate, organise and communicate to defend. The nature of the game means there will be lots of turnovers and players will have to react quickly, defensively on these transitions. There are a number of progressions.


  • Play 1 v 1 in 3 zones with goals at each end of all the zones.  These players are conditioned to stay in their zones
  • Two floating players  for each team. The floating players  can move and play in any of the zones.
  • Supply of footballs with the coach / server.
  • The size of the zones and the goals can be adjusted to suit the age and ability of the players, but suggest goals that are 3 – 4 yards wide and zones 25 x 10 yards.
  • If the ball goes out of play the coach / server immediately passes a ball quickly onto the pitch to one of the floating players and a new game begins.

Defending - Multi Goal Game


  • Ball is served from the coach / server to one of the floating players  and the game begins.
  • Floating player on the ball decides how and where they want to attack
  • Attacking team try and score. Defending team try and stop them
  • Only the floating attacking and floating defending players can move into different zones
  • Play lots of games over periods of agreed time and see which team can score the most goals.
  • Play first team to score set number of goals



  • Rotate the floating players often with other players, so all players play different roles
  • Change the size of the zones – smaller, defenders can get tighter. Bigger, they have to think about their distances more
  • Make the zones bigger and play 2 attackers  v 2 defenders  in each zone. Floating players are still the only ones who can move from zone to zone
  • Allow the defending floating player  to swap with a zone player. There still must be a defending player in each zone, but the floating player can take the place of a zone player and pass the floating defenders role on – will need good communication
  • Make one, two or three goals full size and play with GK’s (depending on numbers and GK’s available)


Ball Changes Hands – Transition

  • Look out for situations where the attacking team lose the ball and have to quickly become the defending team – transition.
  • How quickly can the now defensive team communicate, react to get into a shape and how quickly and where the floating player recovers if they are caught out of position.
  • Look out for situations where the attacking team have an overload situation in one of the zones, for example a 2 v 1. How do the defenders react? Do they delay and recover or dive in and get played around?


Coaching Tips

  • Early, loud, clear communication between the defenders is vital
  • Relevant pressure in 1 v 1 situations in the zones, cover behind (floating player where possible)
  • Within their zones, the defenders must move laterally and provide cover and balance off the player who presses the ball
  • Defenders must look to take defending positions within their zone where they can make intercept or make a pass  into their zone goal difficult
  • Floating player to try and get into the zone where the ball is to provide cover – meaning the pressing player can get tighter and try and win the ball, knowing they have cover behind
  • Dealing with 1 v 1’s
  • Dealing with give and goes- communicate, track runners and don’t follow the ball
  • Dealing with outnumbered situations, 2 attackers v 1 defender – delay, recover, communicate
  1. Dealing with give and goes- communicate, track runners and don’t follow the ball
  2. Dealing with 1 v 1’s
  3.  Dealing with outnumbered situations, 2 attackers v 1 defender – delay, recover, communication 6-coaching-tips
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Defending Defending Sessions UEFA B