Soccer defending drill: 2v2 – Soccer Coach Theory

Soccer Coach Theory Team

Equipment needed:

  • 1 soccer ball
  • 10 cones or markers
  • Approx 30 yards of space

2v2 defending drill set-up:

  • Mark out a rectangle approximately 20 x 20 yards (this can be adapted depending on the age range)
  • At two opposite ends of the square, place two cones 2 yards back from the square – these are the ‘end zones’
  • Place two cones on the halfway line


2v2 defending drill execution:

  • The drill starts with the defenders passing the ball to either of the attackers
  • The attacker’s objective is to get to the opposite end zone without being tackled by the defenders
  • Attackers and defenders can swap roles or switch roles every few attempts


Coaching tips

  • The closest defenders approach to the player on the ball should be quick; but they should decelerate in time to take up a good distance from the player so they are not beaten easily
  • The body shape of the closest defender to the ball should be side on – they show the attacking player towards the other defender
  • The 2nd defender should take up a position that enables them to cover the 1st defender if they are beaten but close enough to the 2nd attacker to enable them to close down quickly if the ball is passed between the attackers
  • The 2nd defender’s body position should be ‘open’ so they can see the 1 v 1 situation but also the 2nd attacking player


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


  • Switch roles and focus on the attacking players instead
  • The attacking players are only allowed 3 touches each of the ball, before they must pass the ball between themselves to create space. This helps the defenders to defend against movement, as opposed to one-on-one tackling
  • The attackers and defenders start in the middle square with their back to the defenders. The ball is played into the attackers and the drill starts.
  • When the coach shouts “SWITCH!” the attacking players must get back to their starting end zone with the ball, and the defenders must chase them down to stop them