Conditioning, training and skills development provide the basic groundwork for successful participation at all levels of soccer. Training players on specific positions, including defensive positions such as sweeper and outside fullback provides them with the skills necessary to grow into a position and excel.

Start by building endurance and speed. Use training methods such as sprints and timed distance running to help defenders reach their fitness potential. Speed helps a defender attack while endurance enables a defender to have enough energy to last the game and match the intensity of attacking players.

Teach agility. Agility training allows defenders to develop and improve skills such as the ability to move side to side and the ability to make quick turns. Develop defenders agility by using training cones. Lay ten cones in a zig zag pattern. Ask players to sprint to the first cone, bend down and touch it then sprint backwards to the next cone and bend and touch it. Proceed until the defender touches all cones.

Teach the basics of defence. Instruct defenders to keep their body in between the goal and the ball at all times.This limits the offensive players view of the goal and decreases the chance of the player getting an accurate shot on goal. Advise defenders to clear the ball to the outside. Instruct players to refrain from lunging at the ball. Lunging throws defenders off balance. Defenders should stay focused on the ball itself, not the opposing player.

Encourage teamwork. Defenders must learn to rely on their goalkeeper and fellow teammates for assistance when necessary. Keepers often provide instruction about oncoming attacks and can help lead defenders to proper defensive positions should a breakaway occur. Set up practice scenarios, including specific defensive positions for kicks and penalties to encourage communication and trust.

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