Learning to Work in Pairs to Attack and Defend Successfully
When coaching 2v1 soccer drills, our main focus as coaches is to ensure that our players not only understand the importance of working together to exploit space and apply pressure in attacking situations but also work and communicate well to deny opposition attackers of time and space to get a shot off on goal.
Like 1v1 drills, 2v1 scenarios are very common in a real-game situation – so it’s important that these kinds of drills are introduced to your players as early as possible.
Below I have listed various different 2v1 drills that I have used with my own players to great effect.
You’ll need choose what 2v1 situation you’re going to be focusing on (defensive vs attacking) and you’re also going to want to ensure your coaching points are clear for your players to understand.
2v1 Soccer Drills: Key Coaching Points
Here are some points to remember when coaching 2v1 scenarios;
- Work together to get a shot on target
- React quickly and exploit the space around the opposition
- Pass and move quickly
- Stay aware of your surroundings
- Communicate and work together when defending in 2v1 situations
2v1 Soccer Drills
Split your playing area into 3 zones.
In each zone place one defender. Defenders are not allowed leave their zones. On the opposite side of the goal place you attackers.
Each attack will consist of 2 players. Attackers must work together to get past each defender. They cannot take a shot on goal until the reach the final zone
2v1 Overlap Drill
The drill encourages your players to be more dynamic in the way they move and attack on the pitch.
Split your group into two teams – one defending and one attacking.
One of the attacking players (BLUES) starts the play by passing the ball to their team mate.
After playing the pass they then start to make an overlapping run round the back of the second attacker.
Each defender looks to close down the space and stop the attacking players from scoring.
2v1 Reactive Support
For this drill split your players into 3 groups. Place two of the either side of the coach and finally the third group goal-side in one of the corner positions.
When the coach releases the ball, the two players either side must run and try and win possession.
Whatever player wins possession becomes the attacking player. They must protect the ball, keep possession and wait for the 3rd player (corner position) to provide support – creating a 2v1 situation.
Each rotation is complete when either the attacking team scores, the ball goes out of play or the defenders wins the ball and manages to score in one of the opposite goals.
For this drill the goalkeeper controls the play. Each keeper takes it in turns to start the drill.
Whatever color the keeper calls out becomes the attacking team. The player that becomes the active defender is the player who is positioned diagonally to the attacker who first received the ball.
So for example; in the diagram shown, the diagonal player is the red player to the right of the opposition goal as the first player to receive the ball was the blue player on the left hand side of the pitch.
If the goalkeeper decided to play the ball to a red player, the diagonal blue player becomes the defender.
Perpetual 2v1 Drill
This a great drill to move onto when you have previously focused on both attacking and defending overloads. For this drill to work split your group into 2.
To start; the wide players attack 2v1. They must work together exploiting the space and try get a shot on target.
Once the ball is dead (through either scoring or going out of play), the 2 wide players turn as face the starting position where they will now defend 2v1 against one of the middle players.
Once this rotation finishes, the drill once again returns to a 2v1 attacking scenario with the middle player becoming the defender again.
To get this drill started setup 3 players in a triangle formation. You’ll have 2 players inside the area of play set on either wing (1 & 2) and an attacking player that starts the play on the opposite side to the goal (Attacker).
The blue player chooses a player to pass the ball into. Whatever player he chooses becomes the second attacking players to create a 2v1 scenario.
The other player who did not receive the ball must close down the space and try to stop attackers scoring.