INSPIRED, CONFIDENT & EFFECTIVE COACHING

Recycle the ball

Keeping possession of the ball means your opponent cannot score goals and you have the chance to create opportunities. The key learning focus for your players is to improve awareness on the ball and patience in the build up process. This is shown by turning away from pressure and “recycling” the ball.

What this session is about

  1.  Team possession.
  2.  Patient build up.
  3.  Recycling the ball.

What to think about

Younger players tend to want to attack the opponent’s goal at every opportunity. This enthusiasm is a good quality in young players but it can often affect the team’s rhythm as each player that receives the ball wants to immediately dribble or run forward in search of a goal.

To combat this, you should teach your players to remain patient in possession and wait for the correct space and time to attack. Young players often try to force themselves out of pressure rather than turning away from pressure and quickly passing back to a team mate in space.

By passing the ball from side to side, your team will keep its opponent on the run. This will eventually tire them or create attacking opportunities.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Use half of your normal pitch with four players and two servers, as set out in the top picture.

The players work continuously at turning away from the direction they are attacking and playing the ball across the field to remain patient and keep possession of the ball. This process is known as “recycling” the ball when a team turns away from an opponent and looks to attack in a new area.

To start, one server passes to a wide defender and runs to pressure, the defender turns away from pressure and passes across the defence. Defenders continue to pass across until the defender on the opposite wing receives the ball. This defender passes to the server on his side. The server repeats the process of passing back to the wide defender and running to pressure.

The ball is passed to a defender by a server who adds pressure. Defenders pass along the lines alleviating pressure.

The ball is passed to a defender by a server who adds pressure. Defenders pass along the lines alleviating pressure.


Development

Split your players into two teams. In this example, we have seven-a-side in the area which has two end zones – as shown in the middle picture – but adjust the area size according to player numbers.

Each team attacks the opposition end zone while defending their own. Goals are scored by dribbling into the opponent’s end zone with the ball.

When in possession, the team must constantly keep the ball on the move in order to tire the opponents and create an opportunity to attack.

You can use various rules to improve the team’s patience and possession of the ball.

  1. Reduce the number of touches for the player in possession.
  2. Include a neutral player which gives the team in possession an overload.
  3. Give a free kick to the opposing team if a player fails to turn away from pressure to keep possession.
Two teams try to keep possession of the ball and dribble it into the opposition’s end zone.

Two teams try to keep possession of the ball and dribble it into the opposition’s end zone.


Game situation

Play a small-sided game in an area split into three zones, as shown in the bottom picture.

Each team has a “free zone”, which is their defensive area. They cannot be tackled by opponents here. Play is restarted with a pass-in when the ball goes off the pitch.

This rule is in place to encourage the teams to “recycle” the ball by remaining patient and playing backwards to keep possession away from the opposition.

Two teams try to retain the ball and score in the goal at the opposite end. Players cannot be tackled in their “free zone”.

Two teams try to retain the ball and score in the goal at the opposite end. Players cannot be tackled in their “free zone”.


What to call out

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