Futsal defensive drills – All You Need To Know.

What would it mean to your team if you could go into every game and strangle the opposition into submission (not literally)? This is why I wrote this guide on Futsal Defensive Drills.

Practice does not make perfect.  Only perfect practice makes perfect.

Most futsal football teams do not practice.  They show up 5 minutes before kick-off (if you’re lucky) and just run around trying to make something happen.

So, imagine how much of an advantage you would have if your team could get even just 30 minutes to train together.

But how should you practice?  A few shooting and passing football drills followed by a kickabout?

And where are you going to find time to practice?  It’s hard enough getting all of your team mates to show up to games.

In this week’s post I am going to reveal 3 ruthlessly simple but very clever futsal defensive drills.  Each of these devastating drills can be performed in under 5 minutes but cover all 4 dimensions of modern football coaching (technical, tactical, physical and mental).  They focus specifically on controlling all areas of the pitch from defence to attack.

Perform these just 30 minutes in between or right before your game every week and you’ll end up with a team that will completely suffocate your opposition with superior tactics and teamwork.

Suffocate the Attack

First things first.

You want to kill the opposition attack in your half and frustrate the hell out of them.

To do this, you need to focus on three things –

  1. Protecting the goal
  2. Obtaining possession
  3. Dribbling out from the back

This is where we use the ‘Defensive Suffocation’ drill.  This simple but effective drill has been designed to create intensity in the defensive area of the pitch and a sense of urgency as your defenders work desperately to protect their goal and win back the ball.

Start with an area about the size of half a futsal pitch (roughly 20 metres by 10 metres).

You can use the pitch you play your game on just before kick-off, or mark out an area with cones/jackets/jumpers/bags/children in your local park (remember: 10 metres is about 13 average-sized footsteps).

At one end, use the normal futsal goal, or mark one out with cones.

At the other end, mark out two smaller goals on the left and right sides of the half-way line.

Defensive Suffocation

The drill works best with teams of 4 vs. 3.  The 3 attacking players have to try and score in the standard goal. The 3 defensive players and a goalkeeper have to stop them (things get a little more intense if you opt-out of using your goalkeeper).

If you don’t have that many players it works just as well with 3 vs. 2.

Now, just stopping the attack is not enough.  The defenders have to win back possession and play it out from the back, dribbling through either one of the small goals (this is why the drill works better the more players you have).

The attackers get a point if they score past the keeper in the larger goal.  The defenders score a point if they dribble the ball through one of the smaller goals.

TIP: look for opportunities both in attack and defence to play the ball across the middle of the playing area and spread the play to the opposite side.

Cripple the Midfield

The second drill is used to develop that crisp, slick passing that your team are going to use to tear the opposition to tiny pieces.

The key things to focus on here are –

  • retaining possession
  • moving the ball
  • off-the-ball movement of your players.

Although simple, the ‘Midfield Domination’ drill will get you working the ball and forces you and your team mates to think about your movement.

Again, you want to work with a playing area about half the size of a futsal pitch (20m x 10m), but there is no need for any goals at either end.

Midfield Domination

This time you want to teams of equal players, and the drill is more effective the more players on each team (although 2 vs. 2 is fine).

The attacking players are need to pass the ball between each other, and they score a point for every completed pass.

The defending team have to win the ball and dribble it out of bounds at either end of the half-pitch (booting the ball out doesn’t count).  They may need to pass the ball around a bit to get in a position to take it out of bounds.

If they’re successful then the two teams switch roles and the new attacking team have to beat the passing score of the previous team. If the defending team are not able to dribble the ball out and lose possession back to the attacking team, then the attacking team continue to rack up passing points.

TIP: if you have an odd number of players, assign one as a neutral player that can receive passes for both attacking and defending teams, but doesn’t get involved in actual defending.

Overwhelm the Defence With these Futsal Defensive Drills

The third and final drill will encourage you to keep possession of the ball in attack, move it around the defence and seek out those golden opportunities for scoring.

The main areas to focus on here are –

  1. retaining possession
  2. moving the ball around quickly
  3. creating goal scoring opportunities

The ‘Overwhelming Attack’ drill will make you think about working the ball in attack to create chances.  Due to its intense nature it will highlight the importance of retaining possession.

Like the ‘Defensive Suffocation’ drill, use a half-pitch but with two equal sized goals, one at each end (again mark out with cones for at least one of the goals).


Like the defensive drill, you want at least 2 defenders and a goalkeeper on one team, and two attackers on the other.  The more outfield players the better.

The attackers start with the ball and have to move it around to work an opening and try to score into the goal with the keeper.

The defenders have to recover the ball and score into the other empty goal.

Obviously, the defenders are going to find it much easier to score if they get the ball, so this puts pressure on the attackers to keep the ball away from the defence while they seek to work an opening.

TIP: off-the-ball movement is going to be key for the attacking team, so always look to create space for your team mates.

Bonus Tips

These football drills themselves are not complicated, but they have been designed to develop your team’s technical, tactical, physical and mental attributes in a simple and fun way.

You do not have to spend long practicing these to see an improvement in your team’s performance, but when you do, here are a couple of extra points to consider to really make these work for you –

  • For all 3 drills, focus on speed.  Perform the drills quickly, at high intensity, to force you and your team mates to concentrate, solve problems under pressure.
  • Try to keep each drill to about 3-5 minutes, with a minute’s rest between each exercise.  This will keep the intensity high and you’ll maintain this in your players for longer.
  • Don’t overdo it.  Spending a lot of time on these, especially right before a game, will exhaust you and your players.  Try not to exceed 5 repetitions of each drill (total 15 sets).

Go And  Practice

When was the last time you saw a futsal team practice?

Never, right?

But does that mean you should do the same?  Is it unsporting to try and get an advantage over your opposition through training?

The ‘Defensive Suffocation’‘Midfield Control’ and ‘Overwhelming Attack’ football drills are so simple but can be devastatingly effective if your team incorporates them into a regular practice.  Even if there’s no way in hell you can get players to turn up for a separate training session, they can easily be used as part of your team’s warm-up 10 minutes ahead of kick-off.

Use these and I promise, opposition teams everywhere will never forget the absolute beating you and your team mates gave them.

So next time you’re all stood around before kick-off, smashing shots at your poor goalkeeper, think about this post.  Instead of trying to injure the only guy willing to play in goals take 10 minutes to run through these football drills.

(And if someone asks what you’re doing, point them in my direction 😉 )

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