EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Win the ball back quickly

Pressing the opposition to win back the ball when possession is lost requires teamwork, concentration and hard work. It’s a tactic Barcelona have used in recent years and, if it’s good enough for arguably the greatest club side ever, then it’s good enough for most teams.

What this session is about

  1. Reacting to losing possession.
  2. Working in groups to win the ball.

What to think about

Players must:

  • React immediately to losing possession.
  • The nearest player to ball gets tight to slow the opponent down or steal possession.
  • Supporting players “man mark” opponents closest to ball carrier to reduce passing options. Try to outnumber opponents in this area of the pitch.
  • Be positive and aggressive but do not give away needless free kicks.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes15 minutes5 minutes

What you get your players to do

Mark out an area with cones, as shown in the top picture.

Play a game of keepball with a player overload between two teams. For example, 6v4.

The team of six must try to keep possession for as long as possible. See how many times their four opponents can win the ball.

If they do win it or it goes out of play, it is returned to the team of six. Play for 90 seconds then the smaller team keeps possession with the help of two players from the other team.

Progress to a 7v3.

A team with fewer players tries to win the ball or knock it out of play.

A team with fewer players tries to win the ball or knock it out of play.


Development

Place a goal at one end of the pitch and two target goals at the other, as shown in the middle picture.

Play 3v5 (including a keeper). The team of three starts 10 yards in from the end with the mini goals and can close down the opposition once the goalkeeper rolls the ball out to a team mate.

The team in possession aims to score in one of the target goals, while the team of three aims to score past the keeper in the normal-size goal.

Four players and a keeper attack two target goals while a team of three tries to win the ball and score in the normal-size goal.

Four players and a keeper attack two target goals while a team of three tries to win the ball and score in the normal-size goal.


Game situation

Swap the two mini goals for a normal-size goal, as shown in the bottom picture.

Play a five-a-side game, including keepers. Condition the game so the goalkeepers can only roll the ball out.

Award bonus points for teams winning the ball back early, while in their opponent’s defensive half.

The team with most points/goals wins.

In a small-sided game, award extra points if a team wins the ball back in the opponent’s half.

In a small-sided game, award extra points if a team wins the ball back in the opponent’s half.


What to call out

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