Possession And Transition

SoccerSpecific

Hugh Bell has been an Associate Head Coach at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona since 1992. Yavapai is the most dominant junior college program over the past 17 years winning 5 National Championships and National runner-up 5 times. They have produced 33 All-Americans, 4 National Players of the Year and currently have 3 alumni competing in top professional leagues in the US and abroad.
Bell, a graduate of Arizona State University, has been honored as the National Assistant Coach of the Year for 2003 as well as a finalist in 2004.

Session Emphasis:

Possession and Transition

Equipment:

12 cones
12 balls
2 goals
16 players
2 goalkeepers

Warm Up:

Players are organised into an 8v8 inside a 50×30 yard grid as shown below in Diagram (a). The activity is a basic keep-away or possession game.
Goalkeepers move freely within the activity and can utilise their hands to distribute the ball.

Diagram A
Diagram A

Activity #1:

Set Up:

Two 30×35 yard grids are created side-by-side as shown below in Diagram (b). A 5v2 is organised inside each 30×30 grid as shown. Target players (A) are positioned on each side of the grid as shown.

Diagram B
Diagram B

Objective:

The 5 players in possession attempt to keep the ball away from the 2 defensive players. Points are awarded for passing to one of the target players. The game is continuous with the 5 attacking players attempting to transition from one target player to the other. The target players must work the full length of the sideline (basically, must be aware of both 5v2 games going on at the same time) Players are restricted to 2-touch and each player must get a touch on the ball before any transition to the target player. The player that passes to the target player then becomes the target player – this ensures constant rotation of target players. If defenders win possession of the ball they must return it to the attacking team.
Rotate defenders often to avaoid fatigue.

Coaching Points:

  • Encourage movement and creativity – quick thinking
  • Encourage players to play to the target if they are facing the target – don´t turn into pressure.
  • Target players must be sharp since they are working to support two groups of players
  • Attacking players must be aware of the positioning of the target player since he/she may be on the other half supporting the other group.
  • Quick transitions to support the target players.

Activity #2:

Set Up:

A 5v5 is organised inside one of the 30×50 yard grids as shown below in Diagram (c). Target players (green) are positioned at each end of the playing area as shown.

Diagram C
Diagram C

Objective:

Both teams compete for possession of the ball. Players must attempt to play the ball to the target player and transition into the other half of the pitch. Players may pass to the target player in the half that they are currently playing in – this creates a 6v5 situation in favor of the team in possession. The pass to the target player must be one-touch. Target players are encouraged to move anywhere along the endline. In the above Diagram (c), Player (A) has passed the ball to the target player at the opposite end of the grid. Both teams must now quickly transition to continue the possession game in the other half. The target players must pass to the team that passed to them.

Points are awarded for successful passes to the target players in the opposite half.

Coaching Points:

  • Speed of transition – travel quickly as the ball is travelling!
  • Vision of field – location and movement of targets.
  • Quick decision making.
  • Diagonal passes to targets.

Activity #3:

Set Up:

The same playing area as Activity #2 above is used – Two 30×50 yard grids side by side. A 5v5 is organised with two target players on each end of the playing area as shown below.

Diagram D
Diagram D

Objective:

Both teams compete for possession of the ball and attempt to score points by playing the ball successfully to the target players on the opposite half of the playing area. Players may pass to the target player in the half that they are currently playing in – this creates a 7v5 situation in favor of the team in possession. Targets are encouraged to stay wide to encourage quick attacking through the middle of the field. In the above Diagram the target player has been used for an outlet pass in order for the Red team to maintain possession

Variations:

The target player receiving the transitional pass must pass to the other target player. This target player must now pass the ball back to the supporting team to continue the activity.
The target player must lay the ball back to a supporting player and this player must attempt to find the other target player with one-touch

Coaching Points:

  • Speed of transition – travel quickly as the ball is travelling!
  • Vision of field – which target to pass to?
  • Quick decision making.
  • Diagonal passes to targets.

Activity #4:

Set Up:

Same playing area as above. A 5v5 with 2 target players at each end is organised as shown below. Goalkeepers are now added to the activity.

Diagram E
Diagram E

Objective:

The 5v5 game is played in one half of the pitch. The team in possession must attempt to maintain possession until the opportunity arises to transition to the opposite half of the field. Players may pass to the target player in the half that they are currently playing in – this creates a 7v5 situation in favor of the team in possession. Players must pass to a target player (green) as part of the transition. The target players must attempt to pass back to the supporting team for an attempt on goal. Game is continuous in both directions – the team in possession can attack in both directions. In the above Diagram, Player (A) has passed the ball to a target player. Both teams must now transition to the other half of the pitch – one transitions to defend, the other transitions to attack the goal and support the target player. Target players become “live” and can join the attacking team after one of them has passed the ball back to a transitioning player.

Coaching Points:

  • Speed of transition – travel quickly as the ball is travelling!
  • Recognize the moment to transition – don´t force it!
  • Vision of field – which target to pass to?
  • Quick decision making.
  • Diagonal passes to targets.