Shadow Defending

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  • Make two 6x12yd grids. There are two lines per grid, with one line having the balls.
  • First in line passes ball to first person in opposing line and then goes to defend them. They may not tackle ball.
  • The person with the ball dribbles over the defender’s end line, and then both players switch lines.
  • Continue with new ball in. Get game moving quick!


  • Allow defender to try and win the ball off attacker. Important: don’t progress to tackling until proper form is established with initial pressure (see coaching points below) If ball is won, defender can then try to dribble over attacker’s endline for a point.

Coaching Points:

  • Initial pressure on ball is all about slowing attacker and getting their head down, so teammates can get back to help defend.
  • Once ball is played to attacker, defender needs to get to attacker as quickly as possible to make them look down at the ball
  • As defender gets closer to attacker, it important to make their steps shorter and choppier. If they come in too fast with long strides, the attacker will just touch the ball to the side to beat them!
  • Defender needs to lower center of gravity as they approach attacker.
  • Encourage defender to not approach the attacker “flat,” meaning parallel to the attacker. Instead, defender should angle their body one way or the other to force attacker in one direction (explanation below).
Goals Required: 
Balls Required: 
Players Required: 

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