Pre-season: possession

Posted: July 12, 2017 by genesisv2

The concept of possession has been around for decades and it’s certainly thought of fondly by many purists. In recent years possession football has focused on stretching defences in order to open up spaces and exploit opportunities.

Yes, keeping possession is important, but having the intelligence to move into the right pockets of space and being able to identify vulnerable holes with quick thinking is what makes the difference.

In formation

Remember in chapter two when we looked at team identity? Well, these sessions will work well alongside exercises that focus on your philosophy. You’ll be creating templates for your attacking and defensive positioning, helping your players better understand where they should be in relation to each other. That’ll also help your team’s cohesion.

Defence to attack

It’s easy to forget about the defensive side of the game when looking at possession football, but you can’t afford to be naïve – you aren’t going to have the ball the whole time. So, it’s important that you spend time looking at how you transition from attack to defence, and vice-versa. These kinds of sessions will aid quick thinking as well as key aspects of movement.


Possession should lead you towards the opponents’ goal. When you get into the final third, you’ll need to be able to find a way through the defence, and that’s where these sessions come into effect. You’ll be developing your players’ ability to spot and produce incisive passes, while strikers will be honing their off-the-ball runs.

For more football tactics, drills and training advice, download the full pre-season guide below.

Download your free guide now...