It was great to see yet another new girl at the Academy this week, welcome Grace! Grace plays for the very successful York Railway Institute U13s side and is coming back after some problems with her knees.
Defending was the topic of the week, with specifically 1v1 defending a channel in front of the goal. We set up a 10 metre channel directly in front of the goal, 2o metres long. The defender started 10 metres from the goal and the attacker started at the far end of the channel.
All we asked the attacker to do was beat the defender before shooting – all the defender had to do was stop them! Key principles of defending were worked on tonight with the defenders. First, get pressure on the attacker early – close the space down between you and the ball quickly but stay in control.
Next, we worked on the angle of approach of the defender and sending the attacker the way you wanted them to go. This took some time for the girls to understand but after some frank exchanges they got the idea and did really well. Special mention goes to Nicki who did brilliant at this.
Finally, we worked on patience with the defender, only tackle when you either have to, i.e. the player is close to goal and about to shoot, or when they lose control of the ball and you can win it easily. We always find with younger players this is a hard step for them to get as they want to win the ball wherever and being patient is not really in their make up! But again the girls did really well and Denva was especially good at taking her time.
We next moved on to defending 2v1 so the players had to add communication and cover to their defending principles. We worked with the girls on the distance the two defenders stayed apart from each other and the recovery runs they make if the first defender got beat.
Most of the girls had never been coached defending in this detail before and there was a hard learning curve, but all stuck at it and by the end of the session they looked very capable – coaches were all very impressed!