1 v 1 Introducing Individual Zonal Positioning Concepts

The following drills comes from Jeff's book, “Drills and Exercises to Develop the Elite American Soccer Player©.”

This book focuses on sessions and exercises which address the issues specific to American players. It is a book for coaches at every level but, especially, coaches of players aged U9 to U14. This is a vitally important age when players are, without even knowing it, making decisions on which sport they will choose to play. Preview


Two feeders are feeding the ball into an attacker who is marked by a player defending a goal behind. The defender is given four tactical options;

  1. Intercept the pass into the forward. If not -­-
  2. Intercept the ball after the forwards first touch if it is poor. If not -­-
  3. Do not allow the opponent to turn. If not -­-
  4. If the opponent turns delay the opponent and try and win the ball. 
1 v 1 Introducing Individual Zonal Positioning Concepts

One of the keys here is for the defender to stay goal side and ball side. In other words, the defender must, constantly, change position and try and have a pathway to cut out the pass coming into the attacker. The attacking player is encouraged to move around and get behind the defender and then spring forward and see how the defender reacts. The key defensive skill we are practicing here is for the defending player to always be able to see the ball and the attacker at the same time. The defender must gauge whether it is possible to intercept the ball and, if it is not, then must adopt a position behind the attacking player’s receiving foot. Sometimes attacking players spill the ball when they are under pressure and the defender can, sometimes, win the ball after the attacker misplays it.