Mini-Rage Practice Week of 13 April 2021


This is the third week of our defensive tactical focus. This focus is on zonal defending by the defense line. We have run this practice focus before and then ran a week of practices focusing on individual defensive skills. We are now returning to focus on the defenders playing as a team with one player pressuring and one player covering. 

Remember to keep in mind that in our 6v6 games we are now playing we are setting the ground work for our players to eventually play 11v11 and nearly all 11v11 teams now play with a four defender unit. As such, please watch this video to fully understand zonal defense as that is what we are teaching this week with a focus on the two center backs. 

If the defenders are being effective switch over to the attackers and help them create 2v1 situations to make the defenders deal with that.  

Practice Focus:

  • Zonal defense; press and cover
  • Always keep a defender between the ball and the goal

Key Words:

  • Press and cover
  • Shift

Play 1 (Small Sided Games):

5:00-5:15 pm

Small sided games on the teams normal fields. Start talking with players about their defensive posture and turning the attacker. Also discuss how they stay between the ball and the goal. 

Small sided game diagram



5:15-5:25 pm

Orcas vs Salmon with a ball

Orcas and Salmons with balls

This game is just like the regular Orcas and Salmon that we play except this time the Salmon have to dribble the ball and the Orcas eat them by kicking their ball out of play. Once a Salmon is eaten he becomes an Orca the next time through. We are applying our defensive skills and we are working on dribbling skills and marrying this with agility development. 

Water Break

5:25 - 5:30 pm

Give the players a very short water break. Make them run to their water and back. 


5:30-5:45 pm

Coaches have two options to choose from. We tried both our first week of defensive focused practice. The first one is more complicated to run, but has the advantage of the defensive unit shifting back and forth as a unit.

All of the teams except the Bumblebees will do this exercise. The Bumblebees will do skills training as developed by Brock and Savannah. 

First Option (Shift, press and cover)

The focus for this exercise is to get the Blue team (focus team) to press and cover as a defensive line. The Red team will focus on creating 2v1s and passing to score a goal. 

Press and cover exercise


  • Half field
  • Blue side full size goal
  • Red side two pug goals
  • 7 yard wide zone abutting the midfield line into the Blue half of the field
  • This zone should be divided into thirds 


  • Red starts with the 3 players (Center forward and two midfielders) in the zone with one player per third
  • Blue keeper starts in goal
  • 2 Blue center backs start defending in front of their goal
  • 1 Blue midfielder starts at the midfield line
  • When coach says "go" Red has to make 5 passes across their zone (the purpose of this is to give the Blue defensive line the training opportunity to shift left and right
  • Once Red has passed the ball five times they may attack forward and attempt to score  
  • Once Red attacks the Blue midfielder is allowed to enter play and should move back to defend
  • Red attempts to score on the big goal and Blue attempts to score on the pug goals
  • Once the ball goes out or his controlled by the keep reset the exercise and start again

Training Focus:

  • Focus first on Blue
  • Defensive line should shift left and right as a block as Red does its five passes. One CB always stays between the ball and the goal and the other CB shifts toward the center of the field (stays on the chain as described in the video)
  • Once Red attacks the near Blue CB should press and turn the Red player to the outside and the other Blue CB should cover (see video)
  • Blue midfielder should rapidly close on the Red player with the ball or move to the "top of the box" in front of the goal

Second Option (Attack, press and cover)

This option is a simplified version of the exercise we tried on Tuesday. Coaches tell Red to either attack from the left (with the support of the Red center forward) or the right (once again with the support of the Red center forward) and Blue defense practices pressing with the near side center back and covering with the far side center back. The coach has Red attack from one side and then the other in order to train the Blue defensive line to press and cover as a defensive team. Rotates players through the Blue center back positions. 

Left and right defense diagram


  • Half field
  • Blue side full size goal
  • Red no goals
  • One Blue Goalie
  • Two Blue Defenders
  • Three lines of Red players at midfield (left wing, center, and right wing) 


  • Blue players start at the top of their box
  • Left wing Red player has a ball and attacks forward with the center forward trying to score on the big goal (right win Red player is not in the game)
  • Blue defenders try and gain control of the ball and pass it out to a Red winger (left or right waiting in line)
  • Once the ball goes out or is controlled by the keeper reset the exercise and start again
  • Repeat the exercise, but attacking from the other side of the field

Training Focus:

  • Focus first on Blue
  • Center back nearest the attacking Red player with the ball should press forward
  • Center back furthest away from the attacking Red player should cover the other center back. This means he should slightly tuck in behind the other center back in case he gets beat to the inside or outside
  • Once Blue is effectively pressing and covering work with Red to create 2v1 situations again one of the Blue center backs. 

Play 2:

5:45-6:00 pm

The focus for this scrimmage is how the defensive line pressures and covers and positions itself as a defensive unit. 

Remember during the scrimmage to ensure that when they build up out of the back from a goal kick they do it the way we have taught them. Keep building on what we have taught them. 

This scrimmage will not have any coaches on the field as players. 

13 April

Sam will create the match-ups and field assignments based on number of players per team that show up. He will attempt to make it that all players get as much playing time as possible and that teams stay together as much as possible. If the turn out is good Sam will create an additional field. 

15 April:

Sam will create the match-ups and field assignments based on number of players per team that show up and the coaches available. 

Post Practice Scrimmage

The players on the Bears, Lions and Pumas are welcome to stay after practice and scrimmage against the GU10 team we scrimmaged against the previous week. That will go from 6:00 to 6:30. If we have enough players to scrimmage and play our own small sided game we will do that to keep them engaged and learning.