Progressive Possession – Full Session Plan & Key Coaching Points

Many young and inexperienced players have the bad habit of kicking the ball away without looking. Sometimes it comes off, but most of the time these players are only playing into the hands of their opposition, as the opposition recovers the ball without having to do any defending. Players of any age need to learn how to keep possession of the ball, particularly under pressure, and how to turn that possession into goal scoring opportunities. Tiki taka football is nice and all, but possession needs to have a purpose and that is exactly what we are going to explore in this session plan all about what we call Progressive Possession. Here is a session plan all about keeping possession of the ball, with a purpose.

warm-up: rondo with 4 neutrals (4v4 + 4)

Set-Up/Execution: 4V4 in one central grid. Four neutrals on the outside lines who can move up and down the line, creating 8v4 for the team in possession. Teams must connect with all four neutrals to get a point. After doing so, keep possession and try again for another point. 

Coaching Points:
– Don’t force it forwards. Can go backwards or wide to a neutral instead.
– Receive on the half-turn to play in both directions.
– Don’t block the position of the neutral player, create space in a different area (for example in the diagram, the neutral could go directly to the other neutral but is slowed down by a green player in the same passing lane).
– Play forwards when: you have space, no pressure, available options.
– Play backwards when: No space, pressure applied, receiving square-on, no options.
– Don’t just kick it. Play the simple, close by pass and keep possession.

ACTIVITY: 3 PASSES TO SCORE

Normally I hate restrictions, such as telling players “you have to connect three passes”. As often times this limits their decision making. However, this activity teaches players to keep possession and then go forwards, in a more realistic way than most “3 passes to score” activities can provide.

Setup: 3v3/4v4 in one central grid. 2 neutral players on the outside lines. With extra numbers, you can add another neutral player in the middle or on the end line. Triangle / diamond passing to combine with 3 passes before the team can advance into the blue zone and shoot on goalkeeper/coach. If a team can advance into the zone after three passes, no member from the other team can follow. Goalkeepers and neutrals are available as passing options for the 3 passes.

ProgressionIf a team advances into the blue zone, the defending team can send one player in to defend.

Coaching Points:
– Triangle and diamond shape to combine. Don’t steal position of neutral.
– Quick one/two touch passing to combine.
– Don’t force it forwards. Play backwards, the goalkeeper, or neutrals for extra support.

activity: COMBINE INTO the FINAL THIRD

Setup/Execution: Two zones. Green works on playing into the final third at the right moment and has advantage in zone 1 (e.g. 5v3). They combine to play forwards at the right moment. After passing into zone 2 (the final third), anyone from either team can transition and help the 2v1 go to goal. If white win the ball, they score on small goals at the corner of the field. Can either do play in the final 3rd at any moment, or connect 3 passes first.

Coaching Points:
– Movement off the ball to get away from the defenders, including players locked into the final third at first. Get into a position to receive.
– Receive on the half-turn to play both directions. 
– Play forwards when: you have space, no pressure, available options.
– Play backwards when: No space, pressure applied, receiving square-on, no options. Backwards rather than sideways passes.
– After going forward at the right moment, look to score right away. Verticality and quick attacking transitions to combine quickly toward the goal.

GAME: FOUR GOALS, FOUR NEUTRALS

Setup/Execution: Similar to warm-up, but now adding in goals. 4V4 in one central grid. Four neutrals on the outside lines who can move up and down the line, creating 8v4 for the team in possession. After 3 passes, teams can score on mini goals / pugg nets. After scoring, coach plays in a new ball for team that just scored to try and do it again.

Coaching Points:
– Don’t force it forwards. Can go backwards or wide to a neutral instead.
– Receive on the half-turn to play in both directions.
– Movement off the ball of the outside neutrals. Don’t block passing lane of neutrals.
– Play forwards when: you have space, no pressure, available options.
– Play backwards when: No space, pressure applied, receiving square-on, no options.
– Don’t just kick it. Play the simple, close by pass and keep possession.
– After three passes, still don’t force it. Work to create the right angle.

game

Setup/Execution: Game with equal numbers based on your attendance. Alternatively, add two neutrals in the middle so that team in possession always has two extra players to combine with.

Coaching Points:
Let the players play. Minimal coaching and stoppages. Now is the time to test players’ learning.
Quick key phrases to encourage when to play forwards vs. backwards (e.g. “where’s the space? Scan the field.”). Encourage players to communicate when others are about to receive to tell them if they have space/time or pressure on their back.


So there it is! A session plan all about progressive possession, including when to play forwards vs. backwards, and playing forwards at the right moments while keeping possession in the process. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter @mastermindsite.

Also be sure to check out more Session Plans including…
-> Playing Out From The Back – Session Plan & Coaching Points
-> Pressing From The Front – Session Plan & Coaching Points
-> Switching Play – Session Plan & Coaching Points

You might also enjoy…
-> Progressive Possession (9v9)
-> Coaching 9v9 Soccer – Ebook

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