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Three High-Intensity Pressing Exercises Explained!!

Updated: Jan 6



Developing and planning high-intensity pressing exercises in preparation for pre-season training can be of huge benefit to coaches in the summer months. Firstly, you can develop high fitness levels with exercises and sessions that replicate the demands of the game. Secondly, you can introduce and start to implement defensive principles in all aspects of the training session. The more consistent these principles are, the greater the chance that they transfer to the upcoming games. Thirdly, with adaptable and flexible pressing systems becoming part of the modern game, having exercises that challenge decision making and focus without possession are becoming a necessity in a competitive training environment. This week we look at ideas on how to construct a training session that does all of that. We recently released a new eBook: 30 High-Intensity Pressing Exercises and share some of the exercises in this breakdown.


You can watch the full breakdown below.... Please subscribe to our MSC YouTube page if you enjoy the content and don't want to miss the next one!!


Below are the details of the exercises in the video.


Exercise One: Piston Pressing Pairs


Sixteen players are organized into two teams of eight with a possession team (in blue above) players and a defensive team (in red). The exercise takes place inside a 25x25 yard area split into four and a 5-yard square on the inside which is also split into four quarters. There is a mini-goal located on the outside of each corner. The possession team is organized with two players in each zone and the pressing team is also organized with two defensive players inside each corner of the small square on the inside.


The objective of the exercise is for the possession team to circulate the ball around the square and they are awarded one point for each time they can keep possession in all four corners successfully. The possession team are free to play into any zone but only get a point when the ball arrives in all four zones. The defensive team can release two players into each zone but only when the ball is arriving into the area. There must be a minimum of two passes in each zone in order to give the pressing team the opportunity to close down the space. In addition, the possession players can dribble inside their own area to beat the pressure and keep the ball moving. As soon as the ball is transferred, the defensive players must sprint back to their starting spots and wait until they can go again. Play 6x3 minute games and switch roles after each game.




Exercise Two: Lock Into One Side



Fourteen players are organized into a possession team of eight players (including a goalkeeper) and six defensive players. The exercise takes place inside a 30x30 yard area with four mini-goals located around the perimeter.


The objective of the game is to challenge the defensive team (in red above) to press and limit the possession team to one side of the pitch in their build. The mini-goals act as outlet passes that are aimed to replicate the team in possession breaking pressure. Play starts from the goalkeeper and the blue team must look to build and play into any of the mini-goals. If the red team win possession, they can transition and score in the full-sized goal immediately. Play 4x3 minute games and, where possible, rotate players after each set.




Exercise Three: 11v11 Changing the Picture



Twenty two players are organized into two teams and set-up in a tactical structure. The exercise takes place inside a 100 x 50 yard area, with a supply of balls located in six locations around one half of the pitch and numbered accordingly. The exercise begins when the coach calls a number and the possession team (in blue above) must restart the game with a throw-in if its a wide area, or a goal kick if it’s behind the goal.


The objective is for the possession team to utilize quick restarts in order to challenge the defensive team in their organization and ability to press when the picture is subject to change. Once the ball is in play, the game is played like a traditional 11v11. Play 4x3 minutes and switch roles after each game.



If you enjoy the exercises and want to see more session ideas for Pressing.... Please check out the new MSC 30 High-Intensity Pressing eBook by clicking here!!!





This article was written by Gary Curneen. Click here to check out MSC eBooks and webinar resources!!




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