Play Like Barcelona

Now your team can pass its way to success with the "tiki-taka" style used by the great Spanish team
Dave Clarke

Barcelona have dominated domestically and in Europe thanks to a game plan that prioritises one and two-touch passing, movement and pressing.

Known as tiki-taka, theirs is a style of play characterised by short passing and movement, with players interchanging positions as they keep opponents in their own half and engineer moves that take them closer to goal.

Soccer is a passing game, so it should be no surprise that a team that has adopted passing as its culture has reached the top. Now you can use this approach with your team using 13 passing-based training sessions styled on the most successful club team of the 21st century.

Complete these fun training sessions including Catalan Keepball, The Space Race, Pressing With Purpose and Dynamic Dribbling, and your team will have passing ingrained in their play within weeks.

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Having watched Barcelona over the past few seasons, it’s clear to see why they have been so successful. The way they pass, dribble and press has been essential to their incredible triumphs.

We launched Play Like Barcelona which includes sessions on tiki-taka movement, 1v1 skills and one and two-touch passing, to help you bring some of Spanish passing flair to your team.

This manual will help infuse your players with the playing style and characteristics that have made Barcelona such a dominant force in world soccer.


TIKA-TAKA, THE BARCELONA WAY – The short-passing style that is the foundation of Barcelona’s game.

SPANISH CLASS – Inject pace and precision into one- and two-touch play.

QUICK FEET, QUICK MINDS – Concentration and anticipation are key to controlling matches.

FEINT PRAISE FOR PLAYERS – How a simple body swerve can leave defenders for dead and enable players to keep possession for longer.

DYNAMIC DRIBBLING – Barcelona’s play isn’t all about individual skills – teamwork and communication are also vital.

ON THE MOVE – Movement without the ball is vital, so young players should be coached to move before the ball is played.

THE SPACE RACE – The ability to anticipate a team mate’s movement is an important part of player development.

CATALONIAN KEEPBALL – The best way to stop the opposition scoring is to make sure that they don’t get hold of the ball.

PRESSING WITH PURPOSE – Barcelona are famous for the intensity with which they attempt to win the ball back. They do it by pressing quickly and with purpose.

COACHING IN TIGHT AREAS – Some teams have limited space available for training but clever coaches can make tight training work.

BOX TO BOX – Working in a tight area, this session helps players focus on improving their first touch and developing passing and receiving skills.

TIGHT TARGETS – Whether your training area is tight or you just want to work on possession skills, this session is perfect to coach players how to move the ball around neatly in a small space.

PASS AND MOVE – This compact training drill will get your players used to making short, sharp sprints while passing and receiving and linking up play.

FOLLOW MY LEADER – This session uses a tightly focused training area to help your players improve their first-touch technique and their dribbling skills.





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Dave Clarke is the former head coach and editor of Soccer Coach Weekly.

As well as being a skilled journalist and editor, Dave has excellent coaching credentials, having coached U9s – U16s at grassroots level for over 20 years.

He holds a UEFA B license and is qualified in FA Youth Award modules 1, 2 and 3, as well as the Coerver Youth Diploma Module.

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