Drills to Improve Soccer Possession Skills

You have probably heard coaches say “Keep Possession!” and “Don’t Give the Ball Away!” Well, the one key to building a great team is being able to keep possession of the soccer ball during the course of a game, which often determines the success or failure of a team.

If your team has the soccer ball you are more likely to score and the other team cannot possibly score without it. Besides that possession gives a team a psychological advantage and conserves energy as your opponent works harder by chasing the ball.

This is also why keeping possession of the ball can be a very strong form of defense as well as offense. If you wish to achieve success you want to have enough players on the team with a wide range of skills to take care of the ball. This section will provide you with soccer drills that you need to retain more possession and also convert that possession into scoring chances.

Key Coaching Points for Defending:

We’ve polled coaches and here are the key coaching points they recommend when it comes to possession:

  • good passing technique (accurate, properly weighted, well-timed)
  • quick passing (one or two touch)
  • use short passes more often than long
  • keep the ball on the ground
  • keep the ball moving
  • try and keep the pace of play (ball speed) high
  • play the way you face away from pressure
  • switch point of attack often
  • maximize use of space
  • dribble only to possess or to find passing angle
  • constructive first touch
  • play away from pressure vs. into it
  • stay composed under pressure
  • shield and protect ball from pressure
  • tactical awareness and proper decision making (when, where, how)
    recognize, utilize and exploit numerical superiority
  • create space for yourself and others
  • spread out quickly upon gaining possession
  • communicate both verbally and through body language
  • read and anticipate the game
  • good angle, distance and timing of support
  • readjust supporting position as ball moves

Drills By Age: U6-U8,  U9-U12,  U13-U16,  U17-Adult