Possession drill to break opposition defensive lines

by Pablo M31st Jul 2019

This possession drill requires 8 players, 4 per side, and 4 zones. The objective of this exercise is to simulate 2 attackers vs 1 defender situation in a game.

Setup and rules

The rules of this exercise are very simple:

  • 8 players, 4 per team.
  • The field is divided in 4 zones.
  • A maximum of two players is allowed per zone.
  • Only one defensive player is allowed in the zone where the ball is being played.
  • The attacking players can’t pass the ball to an immediate zone. So, two players in a zone with possession of the ball can pass the ball between each other or pass it across another zone using a mid to long distance pass.
  • The possession of the ball changes team when the ball is intercepted, goes out of the pitch or one of the rules above is broken.

Lessons to be learned

This exercise covers many aspects of the game. Obviously, the main focus is on possession of the ball by creating 2 attackers vs 1 defenders situations in an area of the field. In addition, this drill encourages accurate passing to break defensive lines.

A secondary objective is to improve players’ positioning and anticipation when defending. For example, the defending team has to intercept the ball when it is passed across zones. High pressure or tackling is not the solution in this scenario. Therefore players need to anticipate the opponents’ next move and position themselves in the passing line to recover the ball.

Another takeaway of this possession drill is that it promotes communication and coordination between teammates. Players need to fill spaces, warn teammates when defenders are close by, ask for the ball and be aware of teammates’ movements to avoid overlapping in the same zone.

Once you see your team is getting the idea of this drill, you can add small goals at each side to make the game more interesting. However, practising without goals keep the focus on the aspects of the game discussed above.