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Pressing 1v1

The Pressing 1v1 drill is a simple one versus one drill that keeps players on their toes and places an emphasis on the defensive player to close down the attacker's space as quickly as possible. It is an ideal drill for a team that likes to use pressing tactics because it trains defenders to run towards their opponent as they try to establish possession.

Set Up

To prepare for this exercise, simply build a square or rectangular playing field with cones and set up a mini goal on one side. Another variation of this drill could be played with a large goal and goal keeper rather than a mini goal.

Separate players evenly into two lines, starting at the corners of the side with the goal. To avoid long lines it may be best to create multiple grids when using this exercise with a larger number of players.

How It Works

When the first player in each line is ready, the coach plays a ball out onto the field towards one side. Since the focus of this drill is on defensive pressing, it's best to play the ball towards one side so that the player on that side can gain possession more easily. However, another variation of this drill could be performed by playing the ball into the middle and having the two players battle to win a 50/50 ball.

The player on the side opposite to which the ball was played sprints into position to defend while the attacker attempts to score a goal. In the event that the defender wins the ball, they can earn a point by dribbling across the touchline opposite the goal. With that being said, another variation could be played where both players attempt to score on the same goal.

Key coaching points

In a one versus one situation, the attacker can gain an advantage if they are able to dribble directly at the defender. For this reason, the offensive player can gain the upper hand if they are able to get to the ball quickly and turn towards goal. The defensive player should try to prevent the attacker from turning and playing forward which is why immidiate pressure is so important.

If the attacker is able to turn towards goal, the defensive player should display proper defending technique, maintain a distance that's not too far or too close, and force the attacker one way. In this situation it can be advantageous for the defender to force the attacker towards the side of their weaker foot.