Small sided soccer games for keeping possession under pressure

Getting players to keep the ball is a vital soccer skill. But if you’re coaching this technique, different age groups will need different levels to work at. Here are three games pitched at different levels to practise possession soccer skills.

Small-sided soccer games for 3 different ability groups to work on possession skills

Make use of a simple 2v1 game

In diagram 1 the two white players pass and move around the square while the grey player has to try and win the ball. If he wins the ball, he replaces one of the white players and the game goes on.

To advance the soccer skills, tell the white players they can only have two touches on the ball before they must pass. Once they have got the basics of the game, add more players to make it a 3v2 or a 4v2.

Advance the soccer drill

Moving to more advanced soccer drills, you can expand the play further as in diagram 2. For this soccer drill, use 10 players and an area 30 yards x 20 yards.

Set the drill up so you have five attackers inside the area. Two more attackers – one on each of the longest sides of the area – can move up and down to support the play. Three defenders inside the area try to win the ball back.

They must win it back twice, then one of the three swaps places with an attacker – and the play continues.


Take it to a 6v6 game

  • Advance the drill a stage further, as in diagram 3, where we have a 6v6.
  • Go back to a square pitch either 30 yards x 30 yards or 20 yards x 20 yards, depending on age and ability of your players. You need to have a player from each team on each side of the square, with 2 from each side inside the square.
  • The team that starts with the ball must keep it for as long as possible using team mates on the edge of the square.
  • The player who receives the ball on the edge of the square can either pass or run into the square with the ball and the player who passed the ball out has to take his place on the side of the square.
  • The team trying to win the ball can only use the two players in the centre until they win it – players on the edge of the square cannot tackle.

Key soccer coaching points

  • A good first touch on the ball when receiving.
  • Play the ball first time whenever possible.
  • Count the number of passes to make it competitive.
  • Players should use the inside and outside of each foot.

Click here for a simple small-sided soccer game aimed at developing your players’ possession skills.

For more small-sided games and invaluable soccer coaching tactics, click here to order a copy of 64 Small-Sided Soccer Games by Michael Beale, Chelsea FC Academy Coach.

Share this

Follow us