Soccer coaching game to practise keeping the ball

This is a great small-sided game, called “Possession plus one”, to practise keeping the ball for your team.

Possession plus one

How to set it up

  • Outer pitch size: 30-yard square.
  • Inner pitch size: 15-yard square.
  • This game uses two teams of four players.
  • There are no goals.


The rules

  • One team acts as the passing team, the other as the defending team.
  • The aim of the game is to keep possession by making quick and precise passes to team mates.

Getting started

  • The passing team is spread out in the small square and begins the game by playing with a 4v1 overload.
  • After 30 seconds, another defender is added to make the game 4v2. When a further 30 seconds has elapsed, make the game 4v3, then 4v4.
  • The game is played for two minutes.
  • The passing team must count the number of successful passes they make.
  • Teams rotate roles for the next game and the new passing team tries to beat the number of passes made by its opponent.

Why this game works

This is the perfect short passing game, though one that requires ever-increasing concentration against a growing number of opposition players.

Let the game flow naturally, because the small playing area will quickly see a player on the ball closed down. For one side, this should make for a quick game with a strong emphasis on passing, control and vision.

For the other, it is a dedicated task of pressing and closing down. If your players can immediately relay the techniques from this small-sided game into a competitive match, they will potentially make it an uncomfortable morning or afternoon’s work for the opposition.

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