THE BEST POSSESSION SOCCER TRAINING EXERCISES

HOW TO TRAIN POSSESSION
FOOTBALL DRILLS

Learn how to do a possession training exercise.

Included, the best possession drills variations.

How do I train this exercise?

The possession exercise is undoubtedly one of the most efficient football exercises to become good in the modern game. Why?
Football games now are fast paced and keeping the ball is harder than ever before. This is why you have to become good at knowing:

 

  • What to do before you receive the ball
    Where your teammates are in the field
  • Where the spaces in the field are
    Where you opponents are
  • Make quick and correct decisions once you get the ball

 

All these factors can be practised simultaneously with the possession soccer drill in training. This exercise has been popularised in Spain, where our football academy is and where we help international players from all over the world become better footballers and find teams to sign in Spain.

the best possession football exercises and drills

WHAT IS A POSSESSION FOOTBALL DRILL?

The possession is a football exercise that can be practised in training. To perform it you need two teams of at least ⅔ players each, and it can be played with as many as you want.

These two teams will play in an area without goals, and the objective of the exercise is simply to keep the ball from the opponents team as long as possible.

Normally, the smaller the area or the more players in the assigned area, the less space there will be to play, and thus the harder it will be to keep the ball.

We train the possession soccer exercise with 4 variations to improve the different parts of your game:

The possession soccer drill is actually very simple to understand and play, however the important thing is ‘how’ you perform the exercise. It has to be played the right way to be able to get the benefits of the exercise and improve your football game.

You shouldn’t try to keep the ball at any means necessary, however it should be kept following football’s best practices. These are:

  • Play the ball fast, when the situation requires it
  • Play the ball slow or keep it, when the situation requires it
  • Move to the empty spaces
  • Keep the ball as short as possible to make the opposing football team run
  • Keep your head up as try to know what to do before the ball comes to you

HOW TO DO A POSSESSION SOCCER DRILL FOR TRAINING?

To perform the possession soccer drill you need a minimum of two teams, and you can have even more. Then you have to assign a playing area, this area can be a square or a rectangle, but normally, the smaller the area the better so there will be less space and thus the players will have to make decisions faster.

Then you have to assign a number of players to each team, this number can be as little as 2 or 3 or as big as 11 or more per team. This depends on if you want to improve certain parts of your possession game, like attacking focused possession, or if you want to improve your whole squad’s possession game, and you would do this with a 11 versus 11 possession.

Then you have to decide how you want to play your possession drill, you can play a classic one or focus it on different aspects or the game, that we will mention after, like:

  • Tactical improvement
  • Technique and touch improvement
  • Dribbling improvement
  • Defending improvement

THE BEST POSSESSION EXERCISES TO IMPROVE YOUR FOOTBALL GAME

It’s crucial that you practise the possession exercise in many ways. This way, you can focus the drill on a specific aspect of the game, and become better at it. The classic possession drill will improve many aspects by itself, but adding different objectives and goals will make it more fun to play too!

In Alicante Football Academy we always like to separate and work in our players with these types of possession soccer trainings:

Improve tactical awareness possession drill

In this version of the possession exercise the goal is to keep the ball from your opponent by using your field positioning as your tool.

Possession with areas of 2v2

You have to create a big playing area, and divide this area into smaller areas, where only 2 players of each team will play, without the ability to move out of these areas. So in simple words, it is a large possession game played within small mini possessions.

The reason why this version of the soccer drill will improve your tactical game is because it forces you to stay in a certain part of the field, your square, without following the ball, and thus creating more spaces and avoiding an accumulation of players in a small area surrounding the ball.

It will force you to stay away from your marker in the small box and find the necessary spaces to be able to receive the ball. This will translate in a real game, as many times your team needs you to keep your position in the field and not come towards the ball so you can draw your defender towards you and create space for other players near the ball to take advantage of.

Improve touch possession drill

In this version of the possession drill the goal is to keep the ball from your opponent by playing it very fast and making them run behind the ball.

One touch possession

You have to create a playing area, and the only difference is that you only have one touch, if you take more the other team will be given the ball to start the play again.

Realistically, playing a possession soccer game with one touch is very difficult, even for pro footballers. But this is okay, the goal here is to embrace the difficulty and adapt your game to it, as this will make a real soccer game, where you obviously can have more than 1 touch, seem easier.

You will need to be constantly moving and finding spaces so your teammates can find you with 1 touch, and while you’re doing this, you will need to think where you will play when you receive it, all this in a matter of seconds.

Also, make sure that you always have the right body position to be able to play it to another team mate fast, as your pass will have to be accurate and quick if you want to avoid the opposition team stopping it.

Defending possession drills

In this version of the possession drill the goal is to keep the ball from your opponent and make sure you can stay away from your defender, or stay on top of your attacker, by practising your defensive and man-marking skills.

Man-marking possession

You have to set up the classic possession game version, but also assign one player or your team to another of the opposing team. Then, only these 2 players can defend and tackle each other, no one else can.

This will undoubtedly give you more time on the ball ,as only 1 person can tackle you, but the goal here is to focus on what you do before you get the ball. You have to constantly run away from your defender into efficient spaces when your team has the ball.

Viceversa, as the defender, you have to make sure that you follow your attacker and that he doesn’t receive the ball. But doing so, you also have to make sure you look at the ball too, not just follow your attacker mindlessly.

This will add a hyper defensive focus on your game and make you switch quickly from this mindset to an attacking one once your team gets the ball again.

Improve dribbling possession

In this version of the possession drill the goal is to keep the ball from your opponent for a certain amount of passes and then dribble in a 1 on 1 situation to get a point.

Possession with wings that only 1v1 is possible

Using the classic possession setup and playing space, you have to add 2 sections in both sides of the area. Then, when a team reaches a certain minimum number of touches on the ball, like 10 for example, a team mate has to make a run in 1 of the two side areas, and 1 player from the opposing team can follow him.

Once your team mate receives the ball, we have a 1 on 1 situation in this channel area, and your teammate has to win the 1 on 1 and dribble past the opponent to reach the other side of the channel, like doing a ‘touchdown’. This will be a point for your team.

Added to the parts of the game that the classic possession soccer drills improves, you will improve your attacking runs towards space, as well as your final pass. Then once you receive the ball, you will be able to work on your 1 on 1 skills.

The great thing about this is that you will actually be under pressure in the 1 on 1,as your team has had to work hard and make 10 passes to achieve this. This will mimic a realistic pressure situation in a real soccer game and make you a better footballer.

WHY ARE FOOTBALL POSSESSION SO GOOD?

The possession football exercise is great because it teaches you to keep the ball efficiently. But funny enough, it improves your mindset and movement off the ball even more. This is what will actually make your team keep the ball, rather than what you do once you have it.

A successful possession soccer drill should look simple, fast paced and efficient, without any dribbling or situations with lots of players fighting for the ball.

This drill has a proven track record with Spanish teams, as they practice this every day and they always seem to dominate the control of the possession at the highest level games.

In Alicante Football Academy, we teach our players this exercise weekly and improve all the aspects of your game, as well as finding you teams to go on trial and sign a pro contract in Spain.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT POSSESSION SOCCER DRILLS

The best possession football drill is the one that forces you to play in a small space, quick and makes you move and find spaces for your teammates when you don’t have the ball.

A good number is 2 times a week, and if possible, 4 times a week is optimal.
The important part is to make the most out of the session and the possession soccer drill with the tips we’ve given you in the article.

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the best possession football exercises and drills

Have you ever felt lost trying to understand how to train a possession?

The possession exercise is undoubtedly one of the most efficient football exercises to become good in the modern game. Why?

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