All Ages

Press for success

    Ryan Davies, FA physical education officer, shares a practice idea that focuses on pressing high up the pitch.

    Key objectives

    Players will develop their understanding of:

    • pressing with intensity in the final third
    • working in units and as a team to win the ball back quickly
    • identifying and reacting to triggers from the opposition and teammates to inform successful decision-making.

    Press for success

    Session plan

    Want to try this with your team? Download the session plan to your device and give it a go.

    Organisation

    Set up a pitch that’s appropriate for the age and needs of your players. Split it into thirds and place a goal at each end.

    For this practice, we have a 6v6 – with each team having a goalkeeper, but you can adapt the numbers to suit your players. If you have a large group, set up as many areas as needed.

    You will also need a few footballs to ensure there’s a quick restart if the ball goes out or a goal is scored.

    How to play

    As with a normal game, both teams look to score as many goals as possible.

    In order to encourage high-pressing and a drive to regain possession quickly, offer the following incentive: if a team scores after winning the ball back in their attacking third, they’re rewarded with three goals instead of one.

    Unlike a normal game though, there are no throw-ins or corners in this practice. So, if a player does kick the ball out, the game automatically restarts with their goalkeeper. They must then pass to one of their players in their own defensive third to try and build up an attack. However, this poses a risk, as their teammate could be under pressure by an opponent, who will be seeking to win the ball high up the pitch to get the reward of extra goals.

    If a goal is scored, play is restarted by that team’s goalkeeper. So, if ‘Team A’ scores, they have to rush back over to their own keeper to try to build up another attack – while ‘Team B’ push forward to close them down quickly.

    Progression

    It’s important to think carefully about progressions. Learning doesn’t happen straight away, as players will be figuring everything out at first. Constantly changing the game can mean players miss the opportunity to learn. So, give them a chance to have a go at solving the problems they’re facing in this activity.

    After a while, if you feel your players are having consistent success – or need additional support – you could progress the game to alter the difficulty of the challenge.

    Whenever you decide to progress the activity, think about using the STEP framework. However you adapt the session, make sure you keep it fun, highly engaging and appropriate for your players.

    If you want to change the focus of your practice, try adding one of these constraints:

    • The defending team can’t try to win the ball back until the opposition enter the middle third (develops the mid-block).
    • The defending team can’t try to win the ball back until the opposition enter the final third (develops the low-block).

    QUESTIONS

    After you have looked at the session above, ask yourself the following questions:

    • How would you adapt or tweak the practice to make it appropriate to your own players?
    • What additional challenges could you set to make the practice easier or harder for individuals or your group?

    If you use this with your team, let us know how you get on by posting in the England Football community forums.


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