In soccer, one of the key ways of breaking down the opponents defense and scoring goals is by holding possession. The best way to incorporate this ability into a young team is by practicing soccer possession drills.
These possession games focus on enhancing ball control, passing ability, and decision-making.
They also develop a better understanding between teammates. So, making these drills a regular part of your soccer warm-up and training sessions is a must.
1. Overload Without a Keeper
This is a good possession drill when you have a single goalkeeper available for the soccer coaching session. The drill can be practiced on a standard rectangular playing zone with two goals on either end. Divide the players into two teams and provide the team without a goalie with three additional players to compensate.
The other rules remain the same as in a soccer match and the first team to score a specific number of goals is the winner. The team without a goalkeeper will try to keep possession of the ball and generate attacks. However, the team with fewer players will attempt to take shots at the opponent’s goal from a distance.
The team with more players should take advantage of the numbers and try to use some clever moves. This involves spreading out and taking the right position once the ball is in possession. The other team can practice breaking down the opponent’s defense by making more passes through one-touch play.
This allows the two teams to practice two different strategies and improve different aspects of the game. But in both cases, players need to move the ball accurately and make a perfect finish.
2. Unlock The Neutrals
This drill is usually conducted in a 40x30-yard playing field with two mini goals at either end. However, larger fields can also be used.
Initially, four neutral players are placed at the four corners of the field. You can also position a neutral player in the center. These players remain locked and cannot move out of their position. The rest of the players are divided into two teams.
One of the teams starts with the ball and makes the offensive moves. However, they need to make a minimum number of consecutive passes before they can score.
Once they complete the necessary passes, they can pass the ball to a neutral player. This unlocks the neutral player and they can join the offensive team.
The defenders need to put constant pressure on the ball and reduce the opponent’s number of passes. The game continues for a fixed time and then the attacking team can play as the defending team.
This training drill is about improving passing skills and the ability to keep ball possession. As the neutral players join the game, the team also learns how to use their numerical advantage against the opposition,
Note, when the neutral players are unlocked, the attacking team needs to stretch out and create sufficient space to pass and move toward the opponent’s goal
3. Two Teams Against One
Firstly, you need to divide the players into three teams of an equal number of players to conduct this drill. The team sizes can vary between three to six players or more.
The field size will depend on the number of players. The more space the players have, the easier it is to plan offensive moves.
Two of the teams start the game and try to complete the maximum number of passes within a minute. After that time period, rotate the defending team. That way, all the teams will have a chance to practice defense. The defending team that allows the least number of passes is declared the winner.
To make the drill more challenging or for progressions, you can introduce first-touch play. Another way is to not allow one player to handle more than two consecutive passes.
The primary objective of the drill is to improve passing and decision-making skills among the players. They will learn to keep away from the defenders, create space, and ensure maximum team possession.
Additionally, this drill also helps in improving dribbling skills for the players. The players also learn to enhance their anticipation skills and ability to judge the opponent’s moves.
4. Four Team Possession
This is a competitive soccer training drill that is a lot of fun and can also be used as a warm-up drill. This drill requires a large square playing field with four smaller squares marked at the four corners.
The four teams need to have an equal number of players. Ideally, this works best as a small-sided game with 3 to 4 players on each team.
The four teams will assemble on each of the four smaller squares. One player from each team will play as a defender and all the defenders will gather at the center of the field.
To start the drill, pass the ball to one team. This team will need to play five passes among themselves before passing the ball to the team in another square. The defender of this team can join back and help with the offense.
One of the defenders from the center will enter this square to block the passes. The remaining two defenders will remain in the center to cut off the passes to the other squares.
This drill allows the players to practice passing in tight spaces, as well as making long-distance passes. The training session also helps in enhancing teamwork and communication skills among the players.
5. English Squares
For this drill, mark two 20x15 yard boxes by using cones. There should be 10 yards of open space between the two boxes.
Next, divide the players into three teams of equal numbers. While two of the teams will stand inside the boxes, the third team will stand in the middle and act as defenders.
Start the game by passing the soccer ball to either of the teams. As soon as they receive the ball, two defenders move into the box to gain possession. The team needs to make seven consecutive passes and pass the ball to the other box through the middle.
If the defenders gain possession, the team losing the ball moves into the defending zone. If the team successfully makes the passes the defenders go back to the middle. The drill is repeated with the team in the opposite box.
To make the drill more challenging, you can increase the number of defenders coming in and limit the number of touches each player can make before passing.
The main objective of the drill is to improve passing skills within a small playing area. This helps a team to maintain possession while playing at a fast speed. The players also learn to take quick decisions while under pressure.
6. Find The Final Pass
Choose a rectangular playing field with a small 2×2-yard square in the middle. This soccer possession drill can be played in 4v2, 5v3, 6v4, or 7v5 formats with the offensive team having more players. You can choose a format depending on the number of players.
The offensive team plays around and tries to create spaces between the defensive players. However, they need to complete a fixed number of passes between themselves before making an attempt at the goal.
The minimum number of passes needed can vary between 6 to 10 based on the skill of the players.
Once the passes are complete, a player from the offensive team moves into the square in the center. If this target player receives a pass, the team receives an extra point.
If the defending team can intercept the center passes and win the ball, they receive a point. The first team to score five points wins.
Since the defenders guard the middle player, making a pass is not easy. So, the offensive team needs to hold possession till the time for the final pass is right. So, this soccer passing drill teaches the offensive team to remain patient and wait for an opportunity while holding possession.
Beyond that, the drill also helps to improve communication and teamwork among the teammates. Being aware and choosing the correct timing for running into the middle area is also important for winning this possession game.
7. Spread The Field with Gates
This drill can be conducted on a square playing field. Place two cones with an angular orientation at each corner of the field which will act as the gates.
Divide the players into two teams of equal numbers. The teams will play against each other trying to maintain ball possession. They will try to keep possession as long as possible and will have to play a minimum number of passes.
After completing the minimum number of consecutive passes among themselves, a team has to make a pass through one of the gates. This will win them a point. The team with the highest points after a fixed period of play wins.
This possession drill helps the players to learn the necessary skills for holding ball possession. It also helps to practice passing skills while switching around the entire field. Besides, u8 drills like this also help to improve team chemistry.
One important coaching point for this drill is to prevent the players from bunching up and make them use the entire playing area.
There is a wide range of soccer possession games of various difficulty levels.
These are some easy soccer possession drills that will help players to develop the ability to maintain possession.
When a team acts as a well-oiled unit and ensures effective passing between them, the chances of winning a match get much higher.
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