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‘Intensive’: Reduced numbers of players / Restricted space

Possession games are used often to emphasize / break down / simplify the game into smaller components while still working on elements of the team (11v11) playing style.

The following are a collection of possession games utilizing small numbers of players/opponents. Due to this smaller number of players and the restricted space/time a greater number of ‘football actions’ will occur per minute – players must make more actions in order to find and create space to receive the ball and maintain possession; for classification purposes these could be referred to as ‘intensive’ games.

It is important to adjust the work time / rest periods accordingly; since there are a reduced number of players and a greater number of football actions performed these games must be played for reduced periods (30sec, 45sec / 1min – 2min) with rest periods adjusted accordingly.

1. Possession with Transition through Central Areas:

Setup:

Three Groups of 4 plus 1 ‘FREE’ player (Yellow). Two grids with a central free zone separating them.

Diagram A

Instructions:

Four players maintain possession (4v2) against 2 opponents; the central ‘FREE’ player can take part in the play to create a 5v2 but must remain in the central free area. Players are encouraged to complete minimum 5 passes before transitioning the ball through the central free zone to the other grid; the other two defenders (red) now enter that grid to create a new 4v2.
On any error – that team becomes the defensive team.

Play is continuous.  4x2min.

Coaching Points:

  • Quick ball circulation and movements in congested playing area. Central ‘FREE’ player must look to find pass channels to receive the ball
  • FREE player encouraged to receive in half-turned position. Think ‘transition’ – switch ball to opposite grid

2. Possession: Emphasis on Creating Passing Angles + Channels:

Setup:

Players are organised into groups of 8 and setup in a 3v3+2 Targets as shown.

Diagram B

Instructions:

Play begins with a pass from the Coach (C) to either team; team in possession may utilise the 2 Target (T) players – this creates a 5v3 for the team in possession.

Within the playing area it is 3v3 – players must continuously move to avoid their direct opponent + to create passing options. Points are awarded for 5 consecutive passes / 3 points are awarded for moving opponents so Target Players can pass directly to each other. Example in Diagram- Player Red (8) has moved to receive; the direct opponent has moved to pressure – this creates a passing channel for Target player to pass vertically to the opposite Target player.

Play is continuous – 2min blocks.

Coaching Points:

  • The 3v3 centrally = 3 x 1v1 situations; this creates an environment where players must deal with a direct opponent – players must move at the right Moment / Direction + Speed in order to offer passing options
  • Creating options – Moving off-the-shoulder / behind opponent / to side of opponent / in-front of opponent
  • Move to create passing channels – move the opponent to create vertical passing lanes
  • Quality of passing + receiving

3. Possession 8V4 – Defensive Organisation:

Setup:

12 Players split into 3 groups of 4.  One team designated as ‘Defending’ team for the designated time (Black in Diagram).  Other players positioned on perimeter; 2 Players position centrally (Yellow).

Diagram C

Instructions:

Yellow + Red teams must maintain possession through quick ball circulation – 10 passes = 1 goal / splitting the Defensive 4 with pass = 3 goals.

*Note: Players (A) + (B) cannot pass to each other – pass is blocked with cones – this is to encourage central passes.

Emphasis is on the DEFENSIVE team remaining compact to deny passes to central players, to deny splitting passes and also to press when appropriate to win possession.

Coaching Points:

  • Defensive Team:
    • Stay Compact centrally
    • Deny passing lanes to central players
    • Communication is vital
  • Possession Team(s):
    • Quick ball circulation and movement

4.

Setup:

12 players organised into two teams of 6. Playing area is two 10×10 grids side by side.

Diagram D

Instructions:

Play begins in one half of the playing area in a 6v3 format – the 6 players must maintain possession for as long as possible: 10 passes = 1 goal.

The Defensive 3 players must attempt to win possession and pass to their teammates in the opposite half of the grid – a 6v3 then continues in that half of the playing area.

Continuous: 3x2min Rest 1min

Coaching Points:

  • Team in possession:
    • Playing area is very restricted – less time and space = greater demand on speed of actions
    • Quality of movement
    • Quality of passing
    • Anti-Pressing to win back possession before defensive team can transition
  • Defensive team:
    • Press together – work as a unit – communication is key
    • Fast transitions to support teammates after switch of play

5. Possession with Transition / Pressing + Anti-Pressing:

Setup:

Play begins in one half of the playing area in a 6v3 format – the 6 players must maintain possession for as long as possible: 10 passes = 1 goal. The Defensive 3 players must attempt to win possession and pass to their teammates in the opposite half of the grid – a 6v3 then continues in that half of the playing area.

Continuous: 3x2min Rest 1min.

Diagram E

Instructions:

Play begins in one half of the playing area in a 6v3 format – the 6 players must maintain possession for as long as possible: 10 passes = 1 goal.

The Defensive 3 players must attempt to win possession and pass to their teammates in the opposite half of the grid – a 6v3 then continues in that half of the playing area.

Continuous: 3x2min Rest 1min.

Coaching Points:

  • Team in Possession:
    • Playing area is very restricted – less time and space = greater demand on speed of actions
    • Quality of movement
    • Quality of passing
    • Anti-Pressing to win back possession before defensive team can transition
  • Defensive Team:
    • Press together – work as a unit – communication is key
    • Fast transitions to support teammates after switch of play

6.

Setup:

A 3v3 + 3 Supporting Players (Green) is organised in a 30×15 playing area as shown.

Diagram F

Instructions:

The team in possession may use the 3 supporting players – this creates a 6v3 in favor of the team in possession. 10 consecutive passes = 1 point .

Rotate supporting players every 2 min. 3x2min R30.

Coaching Points:

  • Emphasis on quick ball circulation and movement
  • Tight spaces = quick decision making