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How to improve possession to dictate the speed of the game?

Best way to improve junior team in possession of the ball? To dictate the speed of the game

Hi Joe,

The best way to get your junior team to keep possession of the ball is to keep the practices fun and enjoyable, awarding them points for keeping the ball, rather than giving them a goal to shoot in.

By taking away the goal to shoot, they will not be so set on selfish play to try and score a goal for themselves.

You can then gradually incorporate their passing and possession skills into a more game specific scenario to teach them how to dictate play in order to create space to attack in.

My favourite drill is below. It encourages the players to keep possession without focussing on purely scoring a goal, yet also teaches them about creating space to make goal scoring opportunities. 

Hope this helps!


5v3 End Zone

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Description: The 5 attackers must get the ball from one end zone to the other without losing possession to the defenders.

Encourages use of width,depth and possession.

Only use 2 touch
No balls allowed over head height

Coaching Points: To make the drill more challenging,no use of ball over head height or players must make 15 passes before scoring

Hi Joe,

The biggest thing when teaching kids about possession is to develop their patience, rather than looking to be direct and shoot straight away. 

This drill is perfect to encourage them to keep the ball and pass at the right times then to increase the speed of passing when the opportunity is there to penetrate the defence and get a shot off. 

I hope this helps!

Keep Passing to Shoot

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  • 3 teams of 6: red blue and yellow.
  • Set up an area starting at the edge of the penalty box, 44 yards wide and about 20 yards long.
  • 2 teams start in the area with the other team spaced evenly around the edge.
  • Games of 6 vs 6 using the outside players as extras for whichever team has the ball: 3 minute rotation (including the players on the outside)
  • The aim of this is for teams to keep possession of the ball for as long as possible.
  • The players on the outside are 2 touch only.
  • Have a goal at each end with Goalkeepers. The 2 outside players (yellow) nearest the top goal are numbered "1" and those nearest the bottom goal are numbered "2".
  • One team attacks towards the end with the "1" players, the other towards the "2" players.
  • Once a team in the area has had 6 consecutive passes then they can play the ball to the players "1" or "2" and then can enter the penalty area to shoot at goal.
  • Players "1" or "2" only have 2 touches to pass to the player running in.
  • If players aren't getting enough opportunities to take shots, due to not breaking through Defence then each team can shoot in both goals. This will create more space for both of them.
  • 6 games, so each team plays the others twice.

Coaching Points:
  • Once a player has passed the ball they should move to make the area clear for other teammates to enter the space.
  • Body position: players should shield the ball with their body by keeping their body between the Attacker and the ball.
  • Simple pass: focus on accurate passing particularly in tight areas. Once you have passed the ball clear area for teammate to exploit.
  • Weight of the pass is important to leave the ball playable.
  • Communication between the players- making sure they are calling in space.
    • This is important in a game situation for helping the person with the ball make decisions under pressure.
  • Communicate to teammates to clear areas so that newly created space can be exploited to receive the ball.


This practice is important for teams who do not pass the ball around enough to keep possession. By forcing them to make 6 passes before taking a shot at goal in a game situation they will see that there are other options than playing forwards when there is not a safe pass.

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  • search our library of 500+ football drills
  • create your own professional coaching plans
  • or access our tried and tested plans