Soccer Defending Drill: Defending when Outnumbered

Soccer Coach Theory Team

Equipment needed:

  • 1 small sided goal
  • 4-5 soccer balls
  • 4 cones

Defending drill set-up:

  • Mark a line of cones around 30 yards from the goal, parallel with the dead ball line
  • Three attacking players spread out along the coned line, one with a ball
  • Two defenders start around 15 – 20 yards from the goal
  • Goalkeeper starts in goal


Defending drill execution:

  • The objective of the 3 attacking players is to score a goal
  • The objective of the 2 defenders and goalkeeper is to not concede a shot on their goal
  • Attacking players play openly and try to score a goal in any way they can within normal rules


Coaching tips:

  • When the drill starts encourage the defenders to engage with the attackers quickly and as far away from the goal as possible
  • When the attacking players are in shooting range, one of the defenders should close the ball to prevent a shot
  • The second defender should be in a position to cover the 1st defender if their attacker goes past them but also close enough to close down the spare attacker who’s in the most dangerous position (leaving the attacker in the least dangerous position free)
  • Encourage good body position of covering defender to see the ‘full picture’
  • Encourage the goalkeeper to be vocal, giving helpful information to help organize the defenders in front of them


  • 3 defenders and 4 attackers
  • 4 defenders and 5 attackers


  • Switch roles and focus on the attacking players
  • Equal numbers of defenders and attackers