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Five S's To Help With Your Players Defending.

How often do you see your players backing off tackles, allowing the attacking team to push higher up the field, until your team is emergency defending in their own penalty area, or do you have a player or players who are always square on whilst trying to defend and the attacker just glides past them? then try implementing and encouraging the five S's to help your players. Whether it be a striker or a centre half or a collective unit become more confident at defending all over the pitch.

Now I call it the five S's as I have always found alliteration and catchy slogans have always helped me get my messages across, throughout my coaching journey. From "Oh No Big Toe" to discourage the youngest groups from using their big toe to kick the ball. To "Go Your Own Way" a classic song by Fleetwood Mac, helping to encourage my players during shooting exercises.

As Albert Einstein said, "if you can't explain it to a six-year-old you don't understand it yourself."

I think it's important to get your coaching points across in a quick-fire way through slogans or catchy phrases your players will understand and relate to but I will be going into more depth around keeping it sharp and simple, in another blog I just wanted to touch on why the Five S's.

The Five S's.

Speed - Can you close down the size of the pitch and get close to your opponent, not allowing them time to get their head up to dribble forward, to make a pass or shoot.

Space - Keep the space between yourself and the attacker ideally just over arm's distance, any closer you will overcommit, and the attacker will skip past you, any deeper and you will give the attacking player time to dribble, pass or shoot.

Sit Down - Knees Bent to lower your body on your toes. This is readying the body to perform an explosive movement be that a tackle, change of direction, or a change of speed.

Side on - Your body position to be side on, this will help when attackers either try to come across your body (foot out easy tackle) or try to go on your blind side, you are already half-turned which gives you more of a chance to( quickly repeat all steps or the same advantage if in a footrace to the ball. (explosive movement.)

Show - Naturally you will approach a tackle with your stronger foot forward but in the microseconds leading up, think about where you want to lead the attacker. do you want to show them wide and away from the goal towards the touchline, or do you want to show him inside as that's where your secondary defensive units are awaiting? position your body to block off the easy route and dictate where you want the attacker to go.


whilst working on a Defensive block I will look to create lots of 1v1s and 2v2s to give the players lots of repetition working on their Five S's. You can create small pitches 10x10 size with pop-up goals, cones or even crossing the line as a reward, and to help keep it competitive as players progress on their journeys you can up this to 5v5s, etc and look to introduce secondary players and defensive team shape, have fun and be creative.

Coaching Tip - remember your focus is defending so more positive reinforcement to the techniques of defending and not the goals being scored.

hope this helps take you or your Player's Defending to the next level. If you found this page useful and would like to thank me in any way you can always buy me a coffee.

I would love to hear if you have any other ways of helping your players Defend.

Many Thanks.

Tom - Grassroots Dad.


Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm a Dad of 2 Young Superstars Participating in Grassroots Sports, A Qualified Coach with almost 10 years worth of Experience working along Side Grassroot Clubs, Development Centres and Professional Academies.

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