Split the Defense Game
Split the Defense Game

Soccer: Split the Defense Game

Pat Aitken

Here's a drill to develop your passers' ability to penetrate or “split” defenders, and your defenders' ability to position themselves correctly.

The drill uses players in groups of six.  Set up a rectangular area of 12 by 24 meters (yards) for each group, making four of the players attackers and two, defenders.

The attackers pass among themselves and attempt to “split the defense” by passing between defenders whenever they can.

If the defenders gain possession of the ball or it goes outside the playing area, the attackers get the ball back.  After 10 minutes, rotate the defenders, continuing this way until all six group members have played defense.

The attackers get two points every time they split the defense with a pass. If they can make eight consecutive passes of any type without losing possession, they receive one point.

Defenders can also score—every time they steal the ball, they receive one point.  After all games have been played, the players with the most cumulative points win.

1. Alan Hargreaves and Richard Bate, Skills & Strategies for Coaching Soccer - 2nd Edition, Human Kinetics, 2009.
2. Joe Luxbacher, Soccer Practice Games, Human Kinetics Publishers, 1995.

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