Winning back possession

It may sound like I am being negative suggesting ways to stop teams passing but study any of the successful teams around the world and you will see the hard work that goes into stopping teams passing through or around midfields and defences.

It is a necessary evil of the way the game is played now to think about how you play against teams that keep the ball and pass and move to create goalscoring chances. Your team’s job is to stop that happening.

You want your players to go hunting for the ball, quickly closing down the opposition. This pressing action makes life extremely uncomfortable for your opponents and forces them to react in a different way – or lose the ball!

They do not have the time and space to pass the ball so easily; invariably they will panic and hurry a pass that may well go astray or, indeed, resort to the long ball up the pitch instead making possession even harder to retain.

Try these sessions with your team to help them cope with teams that pass the ball quickly and stop them overwhelming your team.

Double dare… Use this session to teach players the value of hard working midfielders. They can disrupt even the best passing teams by working in pairs to block any moves through midfield.

Do it yourself… This session helps you coach players to understand that they have to stay close and not let opponents get free or they will give the game away.

In my skills curriculum the under 8 session Block passes by the other side is a great way to develop your players to defend against passing teams. As the title suggests the idea of this game is to stop passes by blocking and cutting off passing routes. Being able to block passes is very important at Under 8 but difficult to work on. This is very good session for social and fun time as well as a good technique work out for this age group.

Also in my curriculum is the under 11 gamed Block passing routes The aim of this game if for one team to keep the ball for as long as possible while the other team blocks passing routes. Players must remember that they have to pass the ball to a team mate within their own zone before passing into the end zone.

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