Pre-season training – three ball pressure

This is all about teamwork and teammates using the ball or stopping opponents from winning it. Press hard and the defenders will win the three balls in the fastest time – the clock starts ticking the second the first ball is kicked so players must move quickly.

Why use it

This session is all about possession versus pressing with a three ball game which mimics the pressures teams face on match day.

Set up

You need balls, bibs and cones. Set up an area 25 x 25 yards (smaller is harder bigger is easier) with a 5 yard square in the centre. We used 13 players in the session (but it works with any number you choose).

How to play

Split your team into 7 possession players and 5 pressing players plus one player who stands in the centre square. The possession team has to play with three balls and the pressing team must win the balls and get them to the player in the centre square. Time how long it takes to win all three balls and switch teams to see which set of players does it the quickest.


Fast passing and receiving, pressing skills to force mistakes and win the ball. Game is played at a high tempo making it harder to keep the ball.

Pressing v possession

    1. Give the passing team three balls which they have to keep between them and not let the pressing team win them
    2. Make sure players are interchanging the play and passing all three balls around all the players

possession v pressure

    3. Here a quick combination of passes keeps the ball when the team is trapped
    4. A poor pass from the possession team means the pressing team has won the second ball

Possession v pressure

    5. With two balls taken the final ball has the focus of both teams and needs hard work from both teams

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