Pressing in middle third – Warm-Up


This warm-up game aims to work on players’ pressing and defending techniques, helping to develop the knowledge of how to press, when to press and why we press the ball.


Mark out two areas of 10m wide x 15m long with goals at opposite ends. Split the players into four groups of three and have them start diagonally opposite each other in an area.


One group in each area will be the defenders and the other group are the attackers. The first defender plays a diagonal pass to the first attacker and looks to press that receiving attacker quickly to try and win the ball back in a 1v1 situation.

The attacker’s job is to get past the defender and score a goal. If the defender wins the ball they can try to counter and score in the opposite goal.


1. Set up a playing area with a goal at each end. Teams line up behind each goal.

2. Here, Reds begin as defenders. Their first player passes to the first Blue attacker and then closes down to defend 1v1.

3. The at tacker receives the ball and looks to beat the defender and score in the goal.


Defenders should be quick to close down the attackers, look to slow down when they get closer and should not dive into the challenge.

Defenders should be at an arm’s length from the attacker (touch tight) and their body shape should be diagonal or side-on, to force the attacker one way and to make a mistake.

Their body position should be low, with their knees bent, arm up (like a surfer) and they should keep their eyes on the ball.



Play with two attackers versus one defender – the defender will need to decide who to press and when.

If numbers are low, you can have the coach serve the ball from the side to one of the groups to start the play, still looking to see the defender press and win the ball.

Share this
Follow us