Possession for possessions sake is pointless except perhaps for the last few minutes of a game where a team is trying to run the clock down. The objective of a game of soccer is to score goals and win the game. To do so a team will need to use progressive possession – it will need to pass the ball forward at every opportunity. This should not be taken to mean that the ball is forced forward with few thoughts of retention but rather that whenever practical the forward pass should be sought out. At times this will mean that a greater risk of losing the ball but this risk is more than offset by the increased probability of scoring. Especially in moments of transition when your opponents are not fully organized the reward can significantly outweigh the risk.
All of the exercise in this session reward an early forward pass.
PROGRESSIVE POSSESSION: Play forward early to punish your opponents.
The warm up is an injury prevention warm up from Mike Antoniades that also helps players develop their first touch.
The second part of the warm is a simple possession game where the objective is to play forward to a target player
- The blue team attempt to play the ball from one of the grid to the other
- The nearest yellow player pressures the player at the end while the other yellow player moves along the line attempting to prevent forward passes.
- If the blues manage to play forward the two outside players move up to support while the yellow players exchange roles.
- Adjust the size of the grid to make the exercise somewhat challenging for the players but still allowing a good amount of success. At this point of the session we are juts trying to create the mentality of going forward.
Should the players need a slightly higher level of challenge then adjust the practice as below by adding more numbers.
To move the ball forward the players must either look to turn and play forward immediately (or run with the ball) or set for a pass to be played forward, preferably first time. This can be practiced in the following drill and progression
- In the first phase the play starts with a pass from the end line.
- Each player pulls off the cone, turns and plays forward. The final player controls before dribbling and striking at goal.
- Each player follows their pass.
- Firm crisp passes
- Tight turn with the receiving ending up facing their target and the ball close so it can be quickly played forward.
- Communication – “turn!”
- The progression is that after each pass the ball is set back and immediately player forward first time.
- Each team plays with 2 target players one either side of the goal.
- The target players play with a maximum of 2 touches.
- Any finish following a pass from the target players is a 1 touch finish.
- Because of the rules of the game there are always 2 unmarked players in forward positions (the target players)
- Unless they can strike at goal can the players look to use progressive possession and play the deep pass to the targets and quickly support. In a normal game this could represent a ball player up to the striker who sets it back for a supporting midfielder.
- If players cannot turn and play forward early can they set the ball back for a first time pass forward from a supporting player as per the earlier passing drill.
- Play a normal game and emphasize forward passing
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