Mini-Rage Practice Week of 30 March 2021


This week we are starting a new three week tactical focus. This focus is on zonal defending by the defense line. The first week we will run an exercise focused on getting the two defenders to work together as a team. The second week we will focus on the skills we identify this week that the players need to improve upon. The third week we will take those newly learned or refined skills and apply them back to the tactical task of zonal defending by the defensive line. 

As part of this, it is important for coaches to see how this week's tactical focus fits within the overall player development. The goal of 7v7 (6v6) is to prepare players to play 9v9 and then 11v11. This video below does a very good job of explaining how a full 11v11 team conducts a zonal defensive. As you watch this video, picture how we are training just a small portion of this by focusing on the two center backs. We are focusing on the idea of one center back pressing the ball and the other center back shifting to cover. 

While our focus is on the defense, this will give us the opportunity to work with the non-focus players on offense as they try and beat the defense. As part of this a main effort is get the attacking team to create 2v1s and penetrate the compact.  

Practice Focus:

  • Zonal defense, press and cover
  • Turn the attacker away from the goal
  • Shift the defensive line to keep between the ball and our goal
  • Good defensive posture

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

1v1 Thigh Tag:

Create 20x20 yard box using cones. Pair your players up. When you say "go" they try and tap the back of the other player's thighs. Have them play until the first person gets to three. Then have them swap partners and do it again. As a safety note, be careful that the boys are not being reckless and we have a head on head collision. 

Focus with them on their posture. A good posture for this is the same as a good defensive posture. 

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

Based on our experience from Tuesday, I am adding another exercise that coaches can use instead of the exercise we ran Tuesday. Coaches are free to choose which one they want. The second one is a more beginner exercise. 

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 (We Tried Tuesday)

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

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 presses 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. 

30 March

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. 

1 April:

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