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A group of four young children play football. One is kicking the ball, wearing a blue bib, while a teammate and two opponents stand round him.

Covering and recovering session: supporting on the line

Lawrence Lok, FA national coach development lead, shares a session that helps players cover, recover and press the ball when defending.

This session will help players:  

  • cover for their teammates when defending 
  • move to make interceptions 
  • press on their own and as a team. 

If you like this idea, download the session plan and give it a go. And don’t forget to share your experience on the England Football Community. We’d love to know how you got on.

Coaching session

Watch this video to see the session in action. 

Coaching tips

Encourage players on the line to scan the pitch for the position of their teammates and the ball. This should help them move up and down to cover and protect the goal.

Make sure the player on the line swaps within a team. Players who are defenders will want to drop deep, but we want them to have a go at pressing, too.

When pressing, encourage players to be deceptive with their intentions. Can they trick opponents to intercept the ball?

Change the size of the pitch for different returns. Creating a wide area encourages players to use longer passes. Defenders have more time to intercept and recover the ball as well. While a narrow pitch encourages short, and quick, passes. This puts more focus on pressing for the defenders.

And if you feel it’s right to progress the session, use the STEP framework (Youth Sports Trust, 2002) to help keep things fun, engaging and appropriate.