Possession

Controlling the ball and with it the pace and flow of the game

“They can’t score if they haven’t got the ball” is how most young players are introduced to the concept of possession and there’s a huge element of truth in that.

Of course, the reality is far more nuanced.

When and where a team finds itself in possession (and which player has the ball) have a huge influence over how we approach possession.

On top of that is the reading of the game and decision making on transitioning into possession.

In recent years there’s been a backlash against possession-for-possession’s-sake and we see many sessions below from elite coaches that are moving beyond possession as an end to focus on how to maintain a go-forward approach and have meaningful possession that leads to goalscoring opportunities.

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Possession & transition

by Daniel Farke in Formations and Tactics

This session involves many important topics from our football philosophy, such as possession and transition after winning or losing the ball in narrow spaces. The players are encouraged to perform the activities at their highest levels of intensity, which is important because it gives them the ideal load. MORE

Premier League possession

by Ian Holloway in Skills and Techniques

This multifunctional, directional session is about game-realistic play, positive moves and developing short and long passes. It is important to practise this because possession is key at any level of the game, but particularly in the Premier League where sides can be so ruthless when they have the ball. This session encourages players to receive... MORE

Exploiting possession

by Tony Mowbray in Formations and Tactics

This session is focused on creating opportunities from possession. Every team should work on their ability to maintain and exploit possession because, when harnessed to attacking intent, keeping hold of the ball is the best way to break down defences and create goal-scoring chances. This kind of play greatly increases a team’s chances of winning... MORE

Passing and possession

by Tony Mowbray in Skills and Techniques

This session is about retaining and developing possession, plus switching play. It relies on smart decision making as well as excellent movement and communication between players. This is an important practice for us because, in match situations, main-taining possession is vital. Doing so not only aids the creation of chances, but it serves to wear... MORE

Possession practices

by David Wagner in Skills and Techniques

This is a reactive pressure and possession game that coaches players in the basics of team mechanics – namely keeping the ball, exploiting opposition mistakes and looking for an end goal or product. Although basic in its delivery, these principles are vital for every side, and this is the sort of practice you will see... MORE

Movement to receive the ball

by Matthew Bishop in Skills and Techniques

With the compactness of the modern game, getting your team to exploit space when it’s presented is an essential ingredient for success. This practice develops understanding, cooperation and communication between players so that, wherever possible, they take advantage of the space in front of them. MORE

Becoming pass masters

by Paul Hart in Skills and Techniques

The four parts parts of this session deal with the basics of passing and receiving. Although simplistic in their delivery, perfecting these techniques provides the platform for almost everything a footballer needs to do on the pitch. MORE

Possession and retention

by Russell Slade in Midfield

The ability to hold the ball in midfield areas is crucial to any side as gaining control of the midfield often equates to gaining control of the game, so this is a session that should be practised often. MORE

Possession: tactical play

by Graham Westley in Attacking

Use this session to play an open, expansive, forward-thinking passing game, with an emphasis on quick play and forward running. It involves how players should react when the team is in possession and moving upfield. MORE

Passing through the lines

by Arsène Wenger in Skills and Techniques

This is a training session that incorporates quick combination passing, positional awareness and intelligent decision-making. It’s important to practise this because receiving and passing are core skills, and they are fundamental to the success of every football team. MORE

Defensive principles

by Chris Hughton in Defending

This is all about setting out a defensive mainframe that also focused on the important aspect of transitions because, as a team, you want to attack and score goals, yet you know that by doing so you will lose possession. So that is when the defensive strategies come into play even more. MORE

Back three tactics

by Antonio Conte in Defending, Formations and Tactics

Give players the opportunity to defend the box as a three, and move the ball forward, either by playing through the midfielders, passing out to the wingbacks, or playing the ball directly to the forwards through the channels either side of the midfield. MORE


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