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Designing a High-Intensity Pressing Session

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

This weeks video is centered around the defensive side of the game, specifically addressing how to take a game model with an emphasis on pressing, onto the training pitch to improve and develop. We've talked a lot in the tactical videos about the importance of flexibility, both in and out of possession, with the best teams in the world today looking to constantly stay ahead of scouting departments and opposition analysis. What makes coaching pressing so complex however, is that everyone must be committed to the same action at the same time with one player out of position potentially compromising the entire system. The quote from below from Brendan Rodgers refers to "one brain" that the team must have out of possession, and this level of detail requires a huge amount of work on the training pitch.

In the video breakdown, we also take a closer look at what kind of behaviors or session planning components can hold back an effective pressing session. I think it's important to clarify that all of the action items below are actually required to coach pressing: repetition, smaller spaces, clear instructions, and addressing breakdowns. However, too much of any of them can detract from intensity of the activities and therefore reduce the realism to the game. In addition, looking for opportunities to empower players and involve them in the process, can only help with understanding and commitment.

You can watch the full session with the breakdown of each exercise on the video below. If you enjoy it, please subscribe to our YouTube page so you do not miss the next one.

This video was part of the launch of our new MSC eBook:Twenty Attacking Training Sessions, designed to help coaches connect the dots between philosophy, tactical flexibility and session design. The book contains twenty full session plans that are broken down into three phases: build-up, midfield progression, and goal-scoring. Each session will contain three exercises so there are 60 exercises overall! With his experience in the professional game as a coach and an analyst, Gary Curneen has designed these sessions to help bring out intensity, tactical understanding and game-like situations, that are enjoyable for both players and staff. Click here to get your copy.

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