Possession football


Up to 40x36 yards


Balls, bibs, cones, goals, mini-goals (or poles)

No. of players


Session time

Both 7v7 games, 6-8 mins x 3 or 4

This session is not only about having an appreciation of the ball and keeping possession, but also looks at the importance of winning possession back, both as individuals and in packs – emphasising the value of players being hard to beat.

Naturally it’s very important to keep hold of the ball whenever we can, but when possession is lost, which is inevitable, we must have a quick and effective game plan for regaining it; and that means players must operate with an understanding of how to do this whilst working extremely hard.

This session showcases these principles, which are put to practice in each game we play.

What do I get the players to do?

7v7 game – multiple goals (mini and gated) (1/2)


• This is 7v7, unlimited touches – 3 points for scoring in a mini-goal, 1 point for dribble/passing through a gate.
• Tempo, enthusiasm, communicating, working together is key Quick passing will set team mates free. Upon turnover of possession, react quickly and work as a team to regain the ball.
• When scoring in a mini-goal, your team retains possession. Play is restarted in the opposite diagonal mini-goal.


• We begin this as a three-touch game. When players are comfortable, we progress this into a two-touch game.

We set up as shown, using 14 outfield players in a 30×25-yard area. There is a mini-goal in each corner and eight gated goals laid out in the centre. Teams scoring in the mini-goals are awarded three points whereas teams dribbling/passing through the gates successfully are awarded one point. The first team to reach 20 points wins the game.

What are the key things to look out for technically/tactically?

We want to see high energy levels with players adopting an ‘all-in’ attitude, moving the ball at a high tempo and recognising when to switch play. We’re looking for smart passing, good player movement and an awareness of each other’s positions. This game is particularly strong for testing players’ reactions and mindsets when both in and out of possession, as they will be transitioning between offensive and defensive duties regularly.

How do I progress the session?

The easiest and most effective progression for this game is to make it three-touch and then progress to two-touch. Not only does this demand greater skill from our players, it also ensures speed of pass and thought.

7v7 game – two full size goals with two keepers (3/4)


• There is a 4v3 overload in both halves. The game is restarted by the coach who knocks in a ‘free ball’. Goals can be scored from anywhere but players stay in their own halves. Keepers restart after a goal.
• Defenders stick together, communicate, block shots and cover, then attack when possession is regained.


• Keepers restart the game by throwing the ball into the opposition half. Strikers use the space provided and create space to receive.
• High tempo and good enthusiasm makes for a competitive, high scoring game.
• Swap players so both attack and defend.

We now move into a new 7v7 game, this time played on a 40×36-yard area. This is a progression of the first game, using two goals instead of four, and removing the pole gates.

Each player remains in their designated half of the pitch, with three defenders in each half protecting their goal, working together to remain compact and hard to beat.

We rotate the players with each new game.

What are the key things to look out for?

Each defence is operating against a 4v3 overload, so this is a demanding test for the players both mentally and physically. Coaching points revolve around emphasising the importance of distances between the defensive unit, encouraging defenders to stay close and compact, communicating, and giving cover throughout. For the attackers, we encourage getting shots off, goals, rebounds and good decision making. We’re always demanding improvement in technical ability and tactical understanding, and this is emphasised throughout. 


  • Ball movementBall movement
  • Player movementPlayer movement
  • DribbleDribble
  • Optional movementOptional movement