Controlling the ball and dictating the style and speed of of play in the game of soccer is a large part of the formula of success. While maintaining possession and owning the better part of the play will not guarantee a win it will bring a fair share of success over the course of a season.
How to get there.
Decision making is important in possession and speed of play. Having simple formulas or “go to’s ” to get out of tight spots or to release pressure on the ball will solve some situations. Examples are give and go’s or wall passes to get out of tight spots. The ‘give and go’s’ don’t have to go anywhere, they just need to buy time so players on the ball can find the next pass and players off the ball can get open. Or having a release for midfielders such as playing a ball to the corner flag if no other option seems available. Defenders should always know they can turn a ball back to their sweeper and/or keeper if pressured.
Developing good first touch on the ball will speed play and make it difficult for teams to play high pressure defense. If all 10 and even 11 players can control the ball confidently in tight spaces and are able to make good quick decisions on where to play the ball it becomes difficult for defenses to pressure the ball. Having the ability as a team to play several “one touch” balls in sequence without turning the ball over is the most effective way to speed up play. A some point it is essential to change fields and/or points of attack (switch or swing the ball across the field) quickly which ultimately leads to dictating play and pressuring the opponents into reactive play always trying to keep up with the ball or just settling into defensive postures.
Developing 1 touch team play: To develope 1 touch play restrictionson the number of touches a players can use at parctice must be in place. Placing restrictions on 5v2 warm-ups or even 6v3 is very effective. Play a mandatory 2 touch to start and then ask for 1 touch as often as possible or as play allows, then move to mandatory 1 touch to force anticipation and decision making that accommodates 1 touch.
Or in a 40 x 40 grid play 3v3 in the middle with teammates on the outside that are allowed only to play offense. This ultimately makes the game 7v7 or 8 v8 giving the team with the ball a huge advantage. Play keep-away or possession putting restrictions on both the outside and the inside players. The idea is to work toward 1 touch on all accounts. Make it success oriented moving from A to Z in incremental steps. ex 2 touch on the out side and 2 touch on the inside. Then move to 1 touch on the outside and 2 touch inside the grid. Then 1 touch inside with 2 touch outside, giving the inside players time to find space. The goal is 1 touch all the way around. Spend 5 or 6 sessions getting there. It’s magic