This session helps players understand how to use the sideline as an extra defender. The constraints of the practice encourage players to use the sideline, forcing their opponent out while creating opportunities for attackers to cut in and work on their 1v1 dribbling or running with the ball.

About the Video

In the video below, Dave will talk you through the structure of the practice, various outcomes and how you can adapt it for your players.

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Practice Overview

Topic: Defending

No. of Players: 6 – 18

Goalkeepers: Optional

Practice Type: Skill Practice

Offsides: N/A

Pitch Size: 25 x 15

Timing: 15 mins

Age Group: U8+

Interpreting the Diagrams

The key below outlines what the images mean on the diagrams.

If you have questions about the practices, contact the PDP Team or share your views on the Player Development Project Coaching Community.

Key For Diagrams
soccer training diagram


Set up a long narrow pitch with a line down the middle. The defender serves the ball into the attacker and gets up to the ball to press. Encourage defender to cut off the line between ball & goal. Defender aims to force attacker out over sideline, attacker aims to enter scoring zone to shoot.
An example of success for the defender. The defender successfully defends by delaying and forcing the opponent over the side line. Alternatively, if the defender wins the ball, they must drive out and run with the ball over the end line.
The attacker successfully beats the blue defender in a 1v1 and must enter the scoring zone to shoot.
An example of the practice adapted to a 2v2. This is very valuable when teaching the principles of pressure and cover. The second defender should provide cover to the player closest to the ball. The two defenders work together to force the opponents over the side line or win it and drive out over the end line.
An example of the coach changing the angle of service. The objective remains the same, but the 1v1 duel is now from a different angle meaning the defender has to consider how they recover. Ideally, the defender will cut the space off between ball and goal, then go to press and win possession.


To create opportunities for players to defend 1v1/2v2 locking their opponent to the sideline.


Split players in half. If you have more than 10 players, set up two areas to avoid queues and increase repetition. Add a vertical line down the middle of the pitch. Defender serves to attacker and tries to force the play out over the sideline. Attackers aiming to dribble into scoring zone to score. Defenders win the game if they force the opponent out or win the ball and drive out over the end line. Encourage defenders to cut off the line between goal and ball and keep players to the outside half off the pitch.

Observations & Interventions

What you might see

  • Players not pressing quickly
  • Players defending square
  • Defenders not driving out over the end line

Actions you might take

  • Add in a line that players need to sprint to
  • Remind players the sideline acts as a second defender
  • Incentivise defenders with a point every time they win it and drive out over the end line. Attackers can counter press.


Is the session too easy?

  • Make the space smaller
  • Add an extra defender

Is the session too hard?

  • Make the space bigger
  • Restrict to only one defender can recover

Would you like to learn how to deliver great sessions?

Learn the fundamentals of great session design. In this course, UEFA A Licensed Coaches, Dave Wright and Dan Wright teach you everything you need to know about designing world-class sessions that your players will love.

Foundations of Session Design Course
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