Win the ball back quickly, easily and closer to goal with the simple introduction of a team press
Dave Clarke

The best teams work harder without the ball than they do with it and it all begins with understanding pressing.

This special report features 12 practices to help you teach you players when and how to press effectively.

Used regularly you’ll soon have a team capable of initiating a devastating press that enables them to regain possession quickly. What’s more they’ll win back the ball closer to the opposition’s goal.

Pressing was best described by Jurgen Klopp as making defending his team’s first offensive action. It’s a wonderful way to think about it.

With this handy guide you can revolutionise your team’s attitude and approach out of possession taking them from a passive, reactive mindset to a ruthless attacking one.

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In youth soccer, winning the ball back is an issue, mainly because few teams adopt a structured and logical approach.

Just think back to your team’s last match. Were they pressing as a unit and forcing opposition errors? Or were a couple pressing and the rest watching, allowing your oppoonents to easily pass their way out of your weak press?

Most likely you saw your frustrated striker, hands in the air, turn and ask his teammates “where were you” having spent 30 seconds running around like a headless chicken while the rest of the players let him get on with it.

But was he right to be frustrated? Whose fault was it?

Was he wrong for pressing?
Were the rest of the team wrong for not following his lead?
Were you wrong for not teaching them properly?

Having witnessed the situation above myself I realised that all three were at fault. I knew I needed to address some common problems with pressing and that really boiled down to two things:

1. When should we press?
2. How do we press?

So I set out making this report to share with other coaches at my club and I did it by leaning on the expertise of some the top coaches in US soccer. Now I’m delighted to be able to share it with you.

Working with your players and these 12 technical games you will be able to help them understand the concept of how to win possession by pressing the opposition effectively.

The activities in Pressing, used effectively at training sessions, could immediately improve your team’s ball winning skills.

This is not an overly long or complex guide. It deals with the fundamental aspects of pressing in a simple, easy-to-understand way.

You can cherry pick the bits you need and know that you’re not overloading your players with information that they’ll just forget come match day.

I’ve seen a huge improvement in my players’ ability to execute a press, win the ball in advanced areas and turn possession into goalscoring opportunities. With this report at hand I’m sure you will too.

In this special report on how to coach pressing we look at the top managers who coach this tactic and how they use it to spectacular effect with their teams. Studying Pep Guardioloa, Jurgen Klopp, Luis Enrique and Diego Simeone we take at the how, when where and why of pressing.

With step-by-step instructions and illustrations, we explain how pressing works and introduce some sessions that mirror the ones used by the top teams. There are sessions from Justin Neese the centre of excellence manager at Houston Dynamo, Ricky King the coach education administrator of the New York Red Bulls and Mike Smith youth academy director at 2015 MLS Champions Portland Timbers.



PEP GUARDIOLA – Occupy the space on the field
JÜRGEN KLOPP – Full throttle football
LUIS ENRIQUE – Taking pressing to greater heights
DIEGO SIMEONE – Everybody together, everybody talks


HOW PRESSING WORKS – Principles of pressing
WHERE AND WHEN – Pressing with overloads
STRIKERS PRESS DEFENDERS – Pressing against 3 defenders
ORGANISE DEFENCE TO COUNTER Pressing with focus on the ball


  2. HOT PRESS – Pressing by individuals
  3. FULL PRESSURE  – Pressing as a team
  5. WING PRESSURE  – Pressing to the wings
  6. PRESS OR HOLD  – Control without possession
  8. SUPPORT WORKER  – Fun way to press
  9. COVER AND BALANCE  – Pressing when out of balance
  11. REPEL ALL RAIDERS  – When to press, when to recover
  12. TACKLE AND COUNTER  – Pressing with overloads



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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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