Soccer Defending Drill: 1v1

Equipment You Need:

  • 1 soccer ball
  • 10 cones or markers
  • Approx 20 yards of space

1v1 Defending Drill Set-Up:

  • Mark out a square approximately 12 yards by 12 (this can be adapted depending on the age range)
  • Then, at two opposite ends of the square, place two cones down two yards back from the cones that form the square – these form the ‘end zones’
  • Player 1 starts with the ball at their feet in the middle of the square
  • Player 2 starts in the middle of one of the end zones


1 V 1 Defending Drill Execution:

  • Player 1 passes to player 2
  • Player 2’s objective is to dribble to the opposite end zone and stay in control of the soccer ball  without being tackled by player 1
  • Players can take turns at defending and attacking or switch roles every few attempts
  • If the ball leaves the playing area, the drill ends

Coaching Tips:

  • Player 1 should close the ball down as quickly as possible to prevent player 2 from advancing towards the end zone
  • Player 1 should have the correct distance and body position in relation to player 2 – side on/knees bent, eyes remain on the ball
  • Player 1 should aim to prevent player 2 moving towards the end zone
  • Player 1 should time their tackling and not necessarily dispossess them unless they get a good opportunity to do so


  • 2 attackers vs 1 defender
  • 2 attackers vs 2 defenders
  • 3 attackers vs 2 defenders


  • Switch roles and focus on the attacking player instead, giving them coaching tips to beat the defender
  • Player 2 (attacking player) starts in the center of the playing area, back to player 1. The passed into the feet of the attacking player. So they must control the ball, and attempt to turn to face up to the defender
  • Multiple (2-4) players around the edge of the playing zone each have a ball. The attacking player starts in the center of the playing zone and asks for the ball off one of the outside players. They receive a pass and attempt to beat the defender.