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Defensive retreat – Negative Transition

Defensive retreat – Negative Transition

  • sufficient balls to allow continuity
  • vests
  • Playing: 60x100 meters
  • Players: 16
  • Duration: 16 minutes
  • Series: 2 series of 8 minutes
Summary Secondary Objectives
Game situation to train the defensive position to carry out an immediate retreat after losing the ball.
Vestibular information, Escape, Accelerating run, Finishing, Man on man, Solid and unit, Attack the goal, Defensive positioning of a player based on teammates positioning, Go down, Coverage on the dangerous areas

Inside a regulatory field arrange the white team to simulate the 4-3-3 system of play. The 5 red opponent players stay as shown in the figure, ready to counter attack.


The exercise begins with the white team possessing the ball with the task to develop an attacking action to shoot on goal. The development of the action has to involve in turns all wide defenders who cross with the strikers attacking the goal to shoot. As soon as they cross the coach (in green in the figure) introduces a new ball by giving it to one of the red players. The 3 defenders (numbers 3,4 and 5 in the figure) commence a negative transition by withdrawing to the recovery line (the yellow line in the figure) with the central midfielder (number 6 in the figure) having sufficient time to regain his position in front of the defensive line.  After reaching the recovery line, the defenders have to leave it when the opponents are about 10 meters away. The central midfielder has to insert themselves in the defensive line. The side defender (number 2) after crossing, has to return quickly to his defensive position.


  1. Vary the timings when introducing the second ball
  2. Vary the zones in which the second ball is introduced
  3. Give the opportunity to the red team to shoot on goal
  4. Involve the whole team in the defensive retreat
  5. Add a red player in the box to challenge the cross by the white team
Coaching Points
  • Verify the correct development of the action by the white team, that have to shoot as soon as possible
  • Verify the positioning of the body for the defensive line, that have always to be placed side on in order to be fast in retreating
  • Supervise the running lines of defenders in retreating:they have to trace a running line towards the goal
  • Supervise the insertion of the central midfielder in the defensive line


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