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Possession Under Pressure

Possession Under Pressure

In this session we learn the art of passing to a player on the move rather than a player that is static. This is essential for keeping possession in tight spaces and creating chances.


Defenders will learn to pressure the ball as a team, pressing the ball carrier, cover their best available option and then balancing the shape of the team (Press, Cover, Balance)

Activity 1:

Rock, Paper, Scissor, Chase Warm Up

5 mins


  1. Set up 3 straight lines of cones - a middle line where the games of rock, paper, scissors will take place and then a line on each side of it approximately 5m away from the centre line, this is for players to run to.

  2. Pair up your group and get them to stand opposite one another on the middle line. Each player should have a bib which they tuck into the back of their shorts as a tag.

  3. They should then play a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.

  4. The losing player has to turn and run to the line behind them

  5. The winning player has to chase the losing player and try to tag them before they cross the line.

  6. If the player makes it over the line before being tagged, they earn a point. If they are tagged, the player that makes the tag gets the point.

  7. Repeat for as long as desired. Change opponents for a more social aspect to the game

Teaching Points:


  • Cones

  • Bibs

Pass & Move - Holding Midfielder

Activity 2:

15 mins


  1. Mark out a box, approximately 5m x 5m, with a 'gate' (2 cones of the same colour about 2 steps wide) in each corner. Each gate will need to be a different colour (eg. Red, Blue, Yellow & Green)

  2. You can have either 1 team or 2 teams per box and you want to have a minimum of 3 players and a maximum of 6 players in a team.

  3. 1 player in the team starts as the 'Holding Player', they are in the middle of the box.

  4. The remaining players in the team are the 'Receivers'. They will need a ball each and be positioned anywhere around the outside of the box.

  5. To start the game, the holding player shows and calls for the ball from one of their receivers. The receiver then passes their ball to the holding player and as they pass it call out one of the 4 corner colours - the receiver then has to immediately and quickly sprint around the outside of the box to the colour gate that they called out.

  6. The holding player on receiving the ball has to quickly pass the ball through the colour gate that was called out. Aiming to pass the ball at the correct speed so that it reaches the receiver as they reach the gate.

  7. The holding player then has to show and call for the next pass from one of their other receivers.

  8. Play for 60 seconds awarding a poont for each accurate pass through the goals to make it competitive.

  9. Rotate to give a different player a turn in the middle until everyone has taken a turn as the holding player.

  • Encourage loud, early and clear verbal communication. You can also encourage visual communication too.

  • Body position of the holding player, should be open rather than square on to their outer player when receiving the ball to allow them to find the gate quicker

  • Outer players are to move quickly to their chosen gate in order to allow the holding player as firm a pass as possible

  • Holding players are to pass immediately when they receive the ball and NOT wait for the receiver to reach their gate before passing

Teaching Points:


  • Cones

  • Footballs

  • Bibs

Activity 3:

Possession v Press - Timed 2 Box Battle

20 mins


  1. Mark out 2 boxes - large enough for your players to be able to make short passes and keep it away from defenders, but not so big that defenders have no chance of forcing a mistake (this will depend on the quality of the players at keeping possession)
  2. Divide your players into 3x teams of around 4 or 5 players. If you have a larger group, you can either add another team and have 3 boxes or set up a second game at the same time
  3. Between the 2 boxes, you should have 2x areas for defenders to start in.
  4. One of your teams start as defenders, the other two teams are the possession teams - they start in a box each
  5. Split the defending team into 2. Half go in one of the defenders boxes and the other half go in the other box
  6. You'll need 10x footballs
  7. To start the game, the coach plays a ball into one of the possession teams (start your stopwatch), who aim to keep the ball in the box for as long as they can
  8. As soon as the ball is in their box, one set of defenders are allowed to go into the box and start to press/tackle. their aim is to get the ball out of the box.
  9. As soon as they've knocked the ball out, the coach passes a ball into the other possession box and the other defenders have to go and try and tackle that team - meanwhile the original defenders return to their defensive box.
  10. When the second ball has been knocked out by the defenders, the coach plays another ball into the first box again, with the first set of defenders tackling again.
  11. Repeat this cycle for all 10 balls and then stop the stopwatch when the 10th ball is kicked out.
  12. The time it takes for the 10 balls to be kicked out is the defenders score
  13. Then rotate the teams and have new defenders and repeat.
  14. The team with the lowest time is the winning team

Teaching Points:


  • Scan for space and teammates
  • Play the pass only when necessary and don't play others into trouble
  • Movement, movement, movement


  • Work together and keep high energy
  • Nearest player presses the ball carrier, other defenders press their best option


  • Footballs
  • Cones
  • Bibs

Activity 4:

Football Matches

20 mins


  1. Mark out a football pitch (or pitches) with a relevant size for the number of players per team
  2. Pick your teams
  3. Give teams bibs or a kit etc
  4. Explain the basic rules that they will need to follow
  5. Play
  6. Complete a set of round robin fixtures or similar

Teaching Points:

  • Aim of the game is to work together to get the ball into the opponents goal while keeping it away from your own.
  • Teach children how to restart the game when the ball goes out of play (goal kicks, throw ins, corners etc)






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