An important skill for defenders in order to increase their chance of success against oncoming attackers is learning to deny the pass.


Create three lines. One line of defenders and two lines of forwards. Two forwards will go up against one defender.


  1.   The trailing forward will control the ball and start slowly dribbling it up the field.
  2.   On the whistle, the leading forward will break to an area for a pass.
  3.   The defender must recognize where the pass is going to go and try to shield the forward from the pass.
  4.   To make the drill more complex, you can add another defender and the forwards can try to execute a give and go.
  5.   The second defender will try to deny the return pass to the trailing forward when they shoot back up the middle.

Coaching Tips:

  •   Defenders should be careful not to commit to fakes, but to be patient and wait to deny the player the pass. They need to keep an eye on their opponent’s body and the ball in order to shield them from receiving the pass.
  •   Learning to deny the pass is one skill that will help a team contain offensive-minded soccer opponents.

For Younger Athletes:

  • Younger players should focus on maintaining the correct defensive position between the attacker and the goal, cutting off passing lanes and preventing easy passes.
  • Emphasize patience: Encourage younger athletes to be patient and not to rush into challenges, waiting for the right moment to deny the pass without diving in or committing too early.
  • Practice communication: Help younger players develop communication skills by encouraging them to talk to their teammates, signaling when to press or cover passing options.

For Older Athletes:

  • Anticipate passing lanes: Challenge older players to anticipate the opponent’s passing lanes by reading their body language and positioning, allowing them to intercept or block passes more effectively.
  • Utilize tactical fouls: Teach older athletes when and how to use tactical fouls to disrupt the opponent’s attack and prevent dangerous passes, while minimizing the risk of receiving a card.
  • Develop recovery speed: Focus on improving older players’ recovery speed and agility, enabling them to quickly adjust their position and deny passes even if initially beaten by the attacker.