Put three teams of four players in into different colored pinnies. Divide your grid into three sections that are 10 yards long (you will have to adjust the width to accommodate your team’s skill level and athleticism). The team in the middle group uses zonal defending to prevent the ball being switched from one outside four to the other outside four. The outside teams receive a point for every time they pass the ball to the other outside four on the ground. If your team is skilled enough to keep a rhythm, then change the middle group with the group that has their pass picked off. If that chops the game up to much, just switch them for time. Every time the ball goes out or is picked off, make them transition quickly whole you play a ball into the team that is not transitioning. After a while of this activity, I like to make it a bit bigger and change the rules a bit. Increase the width of all three sections and at least double the length (20 yards or a bit more). Instruct your team that they can still score the same way, but may enter the middle grid after their team has completed three passes. This will encourage the outside teams to try to penetrate on the dribble and combine to get in behind the back four. It gives your middle four more situations that require zonal defending with proper pressure, cover, balance, and compactness. The offside rule is called.

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2 Responses to “Zonal Defending Exercise”

  1. Footie4Life says:

    I have never seen the second part before. I like that it makes the activity more dynamic.

  2. Aron says:

    Great exercise and what I really like is if the defenders are beaten from one to the other they must scramble to get themselves organized and see if they have everyone organized to begin to pressure the ball again. If they are not organized and have not gotten everyone together to defend, they will be beaten again. I always incorporate the coaching point if you do not have everyone to pressure then you must drop off then look for your opportunity to step and pressure again.

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