Soccer Drills: 1 v 1 Attack-Defend Drill

Be quick to the ball with these soccer training Pro Tips to help players work both halves of their game with this effective and fun soccer drill.

Soccer players need to be able to quickly transition from role to role when they’re on the pitch. Switching from offense to defense can happen in an instant. A great way to train these talents while also incorporating some fun conditioning along the way is with the 1 v 1 attack-defend drill.

DICK’S Sporting Goods Associate Haris Merzihic says that the one-on-one attack-defend drill is ideal because it engages players and injects some fun and energy into practice.

“This is great for both friendly competition while at the same time working on your players’ defensive and offensive skills,” Merzihic says.

This simple soccer training method pits two teammates against one another as they sprint toward a lone ball. The goal for each athlete is to either score a goal or block the attempted shot. This drill emphasizes offensive and defensive traits and helps train endurance and conditioning to prepare for those long matches.



To set up the 1 v 1 attack-defend drill, place two disc cones at the halfway point between the penalty area and midfield. The cones should be in-line with the top corners of the penalty area. Place the ball between the cones, roughly 25 yards from goal.

“You want to start with the two players sitting down inside the midfield circle and facing away from goal,” Merzihic says.

When the coach signals, the players should rise from their seated starting position and begin to sprint to their designated cone.

They’ll then round the cone and race to the ball.

Once one athlete reaches the ball, each player takes on their specific role for the drill.

“The player that gets to the ball first becomes the attacker and tries to score, while the other player becomes the defender and tries to prevent the attacker from scoring,” Merzihic says.

Remember to sprint through the entire drill to get the most out of your conditioning training. For attackers, it is also vital to aggressively push toward the goal for the score, while defenders should focus on continuing to fight for control throughout the drill’s entirety.


You can alter this drill to add more difficulty (and fun) to your next soccer practice as well. Try placing a goaltender in net to add another layer of defense for the attacker to beat. Instead of a sitting start position, have your players lie on their stomachs prior to beginning the drill. This will make it more of a challenge to reach top speed out of the gate. Throwing in these changes can help keep your soccer practices challenging and entertaining.

The 1 v 1 attack-defend drill can be an efficient way to train both attacking and defending with one exercise. Use these soccer Pro Tips to mix fun and function into your next practice.

Want to add more 1 v 1 drills to your next soccer practice? Be sure to check out the Attacking Square Drill, as well as the 1 v 1 Ball Possession Drill  for more intense and informative training this season.