Trapping is an effective defensive tactic that can force errors by attacking players. At the core of this drill is defense. This is very similar to a trap play in basketball or hockey, when you force a player into an area where the defenders cut off movement and passing lanes.


Separate your team into two groups, one at each goal with a goal keeper in net. Set up each side with two defenders and one midfielder on defense playing against two attacking players.


  1. The offense starts with the ball at about midfield.
  2. Their objective is to break down the sidelines then loop a crossing pass to the other forward for a shot.
  3. The defenders are going to try to trap the forward to prevent the crossing pass.
  4. The midfielder will try to intercept an errant pass to the other forward.
  5. If the offense has a good shot they should look to score.
  6. If the defense is able to trap the forward and force a backward pass they win and the drill should be repeated.

Coaching Tips:

  • This is a defensive tactic that will work especially well against forward units that only have three forwards. When the forward is forced into the corner with a trap, often times the only pass they have is back to a midfielder.

For Younger athletes:

  • Encourage defenders to communicate constantly and loudly, emphasizing teamwork and coordination. Remind them to use simple and clear commands to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Emphasize positioning by maintaining a low defensive stance and focusing on footwork. This helps players stay balanced and react quickly to offensive movement.
  • Instill patience in players to avoid lunging or diving into tackles. Encourage them to delay the attacker and wait for the right moment to step in or intercept.

For Older athletes:

  • Emphasize tactical awareness by teaching defenders to read the attacker’s movements and anticipate where the next pass might go, which will help in closing down passing lanes effectively.
  • Encourage defenders to use body positioning to cut off angles and force attackers into less dangerous areas, ideally guiding them towards the sideline where space is limited.
  • Reinforce the importance of controlled aggression, pushing older players to time their tackles precisely while still applying pressure to the offensive players.