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Penetrating Defences | (06-P3)

Updated: Dec 28, 2022

This defending practice develops the player's ability to defend as a group against through balls, by covering passing lines & reacting to ball movement.

With 4 teams of 3 working in a 25 x 30 (depending on age group), the objective is for 3 of these teams to combine outside of a central 15 yard area, which is protected by one of the teams of 3.

See all of Coaching Theme 6:

Key Coaching Points:

Compactness between 3 defenders, with quick movement to cover passing lines checking shoulders.

Player Questions:

Communication between all defenders continued checking of shoulders and continuous adjustments during the defending phase.


The defender can now press to win possession while 2 teammates cover passing lines in the central area.

See all of the progressions with the complete video, together with the supporting session plan by clicking below.

How to split opposition defences

Here are a few tips for splitting the defence with forward penetration passes in soccer (also known as football):

  1. Look for openings in the defence: Before attempting a forward penetration pass, it's important to scan the field and look for openings in the defense. This can involve looking for gaps between defenders, or identifying defenders who are out of position.

  2. Choose the right pass: When attempting a forward penetration pass, it's important to choose the right type of pass to split the defence. This can involve using a through ball to play a teammate in behind the defense, or using a diagonal pass to find a teammate in a pocket of space.

  3. Use good technique: To successfully split the defence with a forward penetration pass, it's important to use good technique to deliver a precise pass. This can involve using the inside or outside of the foot, depending on the angle and distance of the pass, as well as using the right weight and power to put the ball in a good position for the recipient.

  4. Communicate with your teammates: Good communication with your teammates is essential for executing successful forward penetration passes. Players should communicate with each other to ensure that they are aware of the pass and in a good position to receive it.

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