Keep Ball

A key to a passing team is retaining possession in midfield. Use this session to show your players how to keep hold of the ball in the middle of the pitch.

Why use it

Holding onto the ball is the best way to ensure opponents don’t score. Passing and moving using good control is the first step to having a team that doesn’t lose the ball.

Set up

Use an 8×8-yard area with a 3×3-yard square in the centre and place cones in the corners of both squares. We used nine players. You need balls and cones.

How to play

Put one player on each cone and have an extra starting player – every cone should be occupied, with one player always on the move. The first player passes from an outside cone to the furthest centre cone on his right. That player then passes to the neighbour on his right and they in turn pass across to the next outside cone. Each passing player follows the pass. Play moves around the square, with each set of passes taking players from one cone to the other. Time the first few goes and then get your team to try to beat their best time.


A great session for weight of passing, accuracy, one-touch passing and intelligent movement. Players are under pressure from working at speed, adding to the dynamism of the session.

    1. Play starts with a 2v2 in each box with players trying to keep possession using a variety of techniques
    2. The neutral players must move between the boxes to help the team in possession keep the ball away from the opposition

    3. The opposition players must press the ball and try to win it – if it goes out of play the restart is a kick-in
    4. The numbers will vary between 2v2 and 3v2 but the two neutral players can go into the same box to create a 4v2

    5. Progress the session by limiting the number of passes the neutral players can have in the boxes – here they are allowed two passes before they must move on
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