How to Build a Possession-Based Team: Complete Series
For youth soccer coaches that are looking to build their team philosophy around possession-based soccer, we've put together a helpful series that explains the basic and advanced techniques for implementing this particular style.
Nathan Bender has served as a soccer coach at several different levels, and has put together several great articles discussing the foundation and instruction needed to create a possession-based team.
Here are five articles that are worth taking a look at if you're interested in adopting the possession philosophy.
"In order to be a possession-based team, it requires an incredible amount of work on various different facets of the game. Quite obviously, teams must work to become proficient on the ball. Players' first touch and passing must constantly be developed."
"In addition, it is imperative to give players a framework of general ideas on how to execute the moves you are requiring from them. In the early stages of development, we will provide players with pattern play in order to execute in various different situations."
"Your first step as a coach must be to decide on the type of environment you want to create and commit to implementing these demands every single day."
"Each of these top coaches listed above, as well as thousands of others have two key similarities. They all set and demand high standards within their teams, as well as make training as “game-like” as possible. While it is much easier to implement these changes at the start of the season, it’s never too late to make changes."
"Creating a possession oriented team must start from the back. We must lay the foundation and framework for our attack, from the goalkeeper forward with our focus on retaining possession, while advancing through the defensive, midfield and attacking thirds of the field."
"Our goalkeeper will rarely, if ever, punt or play a long goal kick; even if the opposition is pressing. The shape and decision making of the back 4 and our goalkeeper formulate the framework and foundation for our possession based team. Adding in our Defensive Central Mid (DCM or holding midfielder), our team should be able to build into the midfield 3rd regularly with just these players."
"Now that our players are familiar with creating angles, supporting and recognize the overall ideas we have, let's look at breaking down the intricate details arising from building out of the back. Primarily in this session, we will be focusing on the timing and movement off the ball in order to effectively build even against a press."
"This knowledge and ability is essential, as early on when your youth team starts passing it short from the back, the opposition coach will press you. If we can successfully navigate possession under these conditions, we will create fantastic numbers up situations further up the pitch."
"This transition from defense to attack is vitally important when playing a possession style. In addition, it is one of the more difficult aspects to train and ingrain into the players philosophies. It is key that our players understand how we want to transition and then are able to execute efficiently."
"Many coaches will completely ignore this aspect of the game when building a possession style philosophy, as they think “defending doesn't have anything to do with possessing.” Well this isn't American football. There's no whistle blown and change of teams from defense to offense. Transition is one of the key components of the game and if we want to be successful as a possession based team we must know how to effectively defend and transition."