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Ways to Turn Possession Into Goals!

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

How many times do a team dominate possession only to lose by a goal against the run of play? As more coaches today favor possession based styles, balancing verticality and creating a final product with that possession is becoming an essential skill to develop on the training pitch. In this week's breakdown we take a look at some ways in which coaches can take 'traditional possession games' and add or tweak them to give players exposure to those goal-scoring situations that coaches are looking to create on game-day.

What does a 'traditional possession game' look like? Usually the goal of an old-fashioned possession game is possession itself. Two teams play in an area (like the one below) and look to play to their team where they maybe awarded a point for a consecutive number of passes. This exercise lacks verticality in terms of there is no true attacking action and also positional references where players can develop an understanding of game situations for themselves and their teammates.

Creating those game references on the training pitch, where players can get repetition working on solving attack versus defense challenges with possession would be a good way to improve, An example of this would be this exercise below where teams play inside the area with an initial 6v4 overload. Then, when the possession team (in red below) get three consecutive passes, they can play an outlet pass to one of their teammates in a wide position. The red team can then send players forward to finish from a cross. If the blue team win possession, they can find a teammate in a higher space who can finish in the goal at the top. Why do you create a pass limit before the outlet pass? Because you will invariably require possession to move the opponent and this is a way to communicate that to the players. Possession is important, it's just not the final outcome that we are looking for.

The other three exercises are available in the video breakdown 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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