FineSoccer Drill 17 - Conditioning Games
Another high intensity drill (in case you haven't figured it out, most of my drills involve high intensity and conditioning) is also a great way to work on getting the defense back and behind the ball at all times.
The rules are real simple, anytime a team loses possession of the ball, everyone (EXCEPT THE PERSON WHO LOST THE BALL) must spring back and touch the goal post before they can defend. The person who lost the ball must chase after the ball going on a one person high pressure campaign until possession is regained. By doing this, the person who lost the ball will get into the habit of trying to win it back (and taking responsibility for their actions) right away. At the same time, the rest of the team will be getting back and behind the ball quickly and are also learning how important it is to give proper support to their teammates since if they don't, they will have to do the running.
If this is done with a 8 v 8 game on a full field, you will find that there is an incredible amount of conditioning going on. Also, there are many other things being worked on including possession (who wants to lose the ball knowing the consequences?), communication (the first defender back will probably have to go to the ball to slow down the first attacker and the keeper will be responsible for assigning all of the other marks).
If you want to really put an emphasis on possession, you can also put in a requirement that the team that wins the ball must make 5 passes before they can go to goal (remember this is a 8 v 1 until the rest of the team gets back and then finds their marks). By doing this, you work on spacing, possession, communication (it's important to know when the defenders are getting near so hopefully, your teammates will communicate this) and many, many more things.
Play this game for 10 minutes and you will have some really tired players on the field. Follow this up with some free play (or possibly let them go to free play with the understanding that if you don't see good defense you will put these restrictions back on). Normally, you will see an improvement in play pretty quickly.
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