Close down and press

This game is all about winning the ball back as quickly as possible by closing down and pressing opponents all over the pitch but ideally high up the pitch.

Why use it

Teams that win the ball high up the pitch create better goalscoring chances.

Set up

You need balls, bibs and cones. Set up an area 30 x 30 yards with a smaller area inside it of 10 x 10 yards. We used 16 players in the session

How to do it

You need to split your players so you have 11v5 – there are 9 players in the outer zone and a 5v2 in the inner zone. In the 5v2 game, when the team of two wins possession they remain in the square, but begin a passing game involving the other nine. The group of five must move to the outer square and attempt to win the ball back. When possession is retrieved by the group of five, play reverts back to the smaller 10×10 yard area.


Close down and press quickly to force errors in both zones.

Pressure to win the ball back

    1. Split your players into a 11v5 game with the 5 players in the central zone versus 2 of the pressing team
    2. In the central zone the 5 players try to keep the ball while the pressing pair close down and force mistakes

    3. When the 2 players win the ball they stay in the centre zone but begin a passing game with trying to keep possession
    4. The 5 players must break out and try to win the ball back – they can go in both zones

Play 5v2 inside the square

    5. If the team of 5 wins the ball back play reverts to the centre zone and begins again
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