Pressing Lines of Confrontation

defending soccer drills

Drill Objective(s)
  1. Coach a team to pressure (press) high up the field. 
  2. Coach a team to prevent playing out from the back.
  • Drill No:               SSG16
  • Age:                    14-Adult                             
  • No Players:        16
  • Difficulty:            Medium
  • Area/Time:         50x70yrd Field  (25mins)
Diagram 1

Mark out 50x70yrds. The teams play in specific formations. Both teams play a 3-2-2 formation.  Start position is indicated by SP1.  Later progressions of varying start positions are shown in diagram 2 below.

  • D1 plays a back pass to the GK who passes with either their feet or hands out to A1. 
  • D1 and D2 can be restricted not to move before the GK's touch if needed to create a more realistic scenario and allow pressing to begin.  For example, these players can be asked to start inside the centre circle until A1's first touch.
2 teams compete and attempt to score in the full size goals.


  1. Nearest player to the ball is resonsible for providing immediate pressure.
  2. Force players inside when pressing high up the field (forcing them back into the midfield masses to deny space).
  3. Prevent the ball being passed forward is the ultimate goal, players pressing dont have to win the ball.
  4. Discuss individual defending techniques, i.e. side on, get there fast arrive slow, dont over commit, on toes, focus on the ball, goal side defending, stay on feet, etc
  5. Slide as a unit to the side of the field the ball is on to compact the field.
  6. Communication - Tell team mates to press (step!) when needed.
  7. Man marking to deny space.
  8. Curved runs to cut off forward passing options if needed to block potential passing channels down the line.
  9. Can we do anticipation marking (anticipate and intercept the ball before being received). a pass
  10. Discuss the decision of when to press and when not to press (i.e. Can I close down and force an error or win the ball, or will I just be beaten with a pass past me?).
  11. Press together when pressing!
Diagrams below 2 – Variations with start positions SP2 and SP3.
  1. Progress  to SP1 and SP2 for variations in the starting position.  Here a misplaced pass from the centre back starts the game and is played behind the full back.
  1. Allow the GK in SP1 to feed the ball into a midfielder.
Players must be active when they are defending!  Switch on and work collaboratively to win the ball back early.  Be sure to focus not only on those players doing the immediate pressing, but those away from the ball also on their duties to mark and press up.