Transform your
team's season with
planned sessions

Use our expert plans or build your own using our library of over 500+ drills, and easy-to-use tools.

Defending dead balls

My team always hesitates on defending corners. We set up right and then don't react. Can you help?
Asked using Sportplan on Mobile


It sounds like a mentality thing, are your players comfortable with one another and happy to communicate when the pressure is on? Make sure everyone is aware of thier roles and responsibilities and are comfortable with communicating with each other.

Although it isn't necessarily a drill specifically for defending corners, the defensive pressure drill will put your defenders in situations where they have to communicate and carry out their roles and responsibilities. By emulating this in the dead ball situations, they should soon improve, supposing that they appreciate their role at a corner.

Get them talking and they'll soon be keeping out the corners with confidence and stature.

Hope this helps!

Defensive Pressure

Video / Animation
Log in to view


Play 3 v 3 in the middle area with goalkeepers stationed in each of the goals. Balls are placed around the field so that as soon as a ball goes out, the closest ball is played in.

As soon as a player receives the ball from the goalkeeper or an outfield teammate, he should attempt a shot on goal. The defending team must attempt to pressure the ball carrier and closely mark all other attacking players.

Coaching Points:

Make early decisions. The player nearest to the player with the ball must challenge. Do not get beaten by an attackers first touch. Get there early, then establish your position. Clear communication between defenders is key.

I have a similar issue, and it is definitely something you should work on, religiously. 

How I do it: I walk through what I expect from the defense in a very deliberate manner...ex. If ball is here and a free kick, I want 3 people in the wall, and we want the rest of you to mark up and trap them at the wall line for offsides, and we place everyone on the field exactly how we want them to defend.

Next, pin the two teams against each other - the defense (Including Goalie) vs the offense. I tell the offense exactly where the ball is going to be and what type of kick (indirect, direct or corner), but we do not alert the defense. Then I place the ball down and give the offense the ability to start whenever they are ready, and the defense has to react. 

Now, here is the important part. If the offense gets the kick off and has a quality scoring opportunity they get a point. If the defense gets into their position and defends it right and limits the offensive opportunities, then they get a point. 

The losing team, has to do a series of conditioning exercises as the's amazing how quickly they pick up the urgency when you give them a consequence of running laps, and burpees and jumping jacks, etc...

Anyway, that has proven to be successful this year, and I've seen the results in games, and the biggest result is that I don't lose my voice yelling at them to get into positions and to pay attention, it's become more second nature, but only because we practice it a lot. 

Good luck!


Join now for free

  • search our library of 500+ football drills
  • create professional coaching plans
  • or access our tried and tested plans
Join now for free
  • search our library of 500+ football drills
  • create your own professional coaching plans
  • or access our tried and tested plans