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Win the ball back in 6 seconds

A high pressing game gives teams a huge advantage when they win the ball back because you are close to your opponents goal. Lose the ball, win it back in 6 seconds is a rule that I use in training sessions. But how does that work?

The forwards must pressure opposing defenders, block forward passes and force mistakes to win the ball close to the goal. Beware though because when using a high press, defenders are in danger of being beaten by passes into the space behind

As a result of that, a high pressing team needs a high last line of defence. This creates a big space behind the defence and clever running and long passing can unpick the high press to devastating effect. To decrease the risk of getting caught with long passes, defending players must apply pressure on the player with the ball. This stops any passes out of defence, short as well as long ones.

In a high press there is always one player moving to pressure the ball, so there are players needed to cover the space which opens up. This requires at least two players, one on either side of the pressing player.

Of course if you win the ball back there is no danger from balls over the top. So working in threes will give the best chance of winning the ball and going on the counter attack.

It was Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona back in 2010 that had the rule lose the ball and win it back in 6 seconds. His Barcelona players would all press towards the player in possession and try to win the ball back as soon as possible. They didn’t let the other team get comfortable and start to build an attack.

Try that rule with your players and give extra points if they can win the ball back within 6 seconds using the sessions below.

Start with a game that gives an overload to the attackers so your defenders have to work hard and support each other against the overload. Defending in small groups is the perfect session to get your team started on defending principles.

Then you can target specific ways to play in overload situations – 3v2, 2v1 – that occur in every match your team plays. Attacking overloads is a great way to get players working in these small group games; it’s one I use throughout the season with my team.

And don’t forget to make it fun… Multi ball game is an exciting activity where players work in small groups that build up into a small-sided game from 1v1, 2v1, 2v2 and so on. It keeps your players thinking about how and where to defend, depending on how many support players they have.

Finally, give your players a good workout in pressing and winning the ball back, which is key to creating counter-attack situations. Hunters is a great fun game that gets players working hard in small groups to win the ball and turn the tables on their opponents.

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