The following posts have been tagged with "soccer possession"...

Soccer Styles of Play


On offense, the two primary styles of play are a “direct attack” (which tries to quickly move the ball into scoring range, often using long passes, “through balls”, or long air balls) and an “indirect attack” (also called a “Possession” style, which is slower and uses many short passes, often sideways or backwards, while looking for a weakness in the defense.) On defense, the two primary styles of play are a “zone defense” and a “marking defense” (i.e., a man-to-man defense). There are several different terms that describe other styles of play. For example, “passing to feet” vs. “passing to space” and “onball attacking” vs. “off-the-ball attacking”. With most formations you can use different styles of play.

When comparing styles of play, you can look to other sports for analogies. In American football, for example, the dominant style of play used to be the running game, but today more teams emphasize the pass than the run. The best teams recognize that a balanced attack that uses both the run and the pass is best. In American football, if a team only runs, the defense will crowd the offense to stop the run. In soccer, if a team only attacks with short passes, the opposing defenders will push up to the halfway line or farther. The threat of through balls and long balls “stretches the defense” and is what forces defenders to stay honest. Another analogy to American football is that when you have the ball near your goal you definitely do not want to turn the ball over. In American football, even the best teams will protect the ball and punt. For this reason, it is best for most rec soccer teams to clear the ball away from their goal if there is any pressure, and hope they can win the cleared balls at least 50% of the time. (Although if there isn’t pressure or you have skilled FB’s you can “build play from the back”).

If you watch a lot of professional soccer from different countries you will see that most good teams from around the world control the ball and build play in the midfield, but also incorporate through balls and long balls into their attack (i.e., they mix the indirect and direct styles of play). In fact, depending upon the league, between 15% and 30% of the goals scored are a result of through balls or long air balls.

The style of attack you teach your team should depend on the ability of your players, the amount of time you can practice, and your coaching ability. The style of attack that will work best also depends on the type of defense the other team plays (e.g., whether they are “pushed up” or “defending deep”) and whether your Forwards are faster than the other teams FB’s. For example, if the opposing FB’s push up and your Forwards are faster, you should try through balls and quick counterattacks. A select team that practices 4 hours per week can play a better short passing game than a typical rec team. In any case, you will want to teach the concepts of “First Attacker”, “Second Attacker”, and “Third Attacker”.

As for a defensive style of play, a “zone defense” and “First Defender/Second Defender” works best for most rec teams. This is because many rec FB’s don’t have the speed or stamina to play a man-to-man style of defense. How to teach a zone defense is explained at “Zone Defense” and at “Support”. (See “Attacking“, “Attacking Plan“, “Boom Ball“, “Counterattack“, “Creating Space“, “Direct Attack“, “Possession Style“, “Spread the Field“, “Stretched Defense“, “Through Ball“, “Long-Ball Game“, “Over the Top“, “Zone Defense“, “Support“, “First Attacker“, “Formations“, and the section titled “Scoring More Goals”).


Soccer Goalkeeper


(aka Goalie, Keeper or GK). Except in small-sided play, each team must have a designated goalkeeper. He is the only player on the field who can legally use his hands and then only inside the Penalty Box. (Note that the Goalie cannot pick up the ball if it was deliberately kicked to him by a teammate… he can only pick it up if it was last touched by an opponent or if it was accidentally kicked to him by a teammate, or was passed from a teammate using the head, chest, knee, etc. instead of the feet.) Once he picks up the ball he has six seconds to punt it or release it. He is allowed to pick up the ball, run with it and then punt it, throw it, or drop it and dribble or kick it. (However, he cannot touch it with his hands outside the “Penalty Box” and once he drops it he can’t touch it again with his hands until an opponent has touched it). The goalkeeper has special protections inside the Penalty Box; the ball may not be kicked if he is touching it with his hand or arm and the referee will call a foul if the goalkeeper is endangered. He must wear a shirt or jersey that is recognizably different from all other players (goalkeepers often wear special jerseys with padded elbows). Note: In hot weather, do not put a goalkeeper jersey on a player. They can get too overheated & become sick. Instead, have them wear a different-colored shirt (one shirt only) or a mesh training vest over their shirt. If your goalkeeper has a strong leg, let him take goal kicks. Encourage him to play aggressively & if you push up on the attack, to come out to the edge of the Penalty Box or beyond to play like a “Second Sweeper”. If he picks up the ball & no opponents are close, encourage him to drop the ball & dribble it out & then kick it. (Once he drops it or when out of the Penalty Box, he can play like a field player but can’t touch the ball with his hands). Encourage him to play aggressively & to take chances, everyone will have much more fun if you do & more kids will want to play goal. Goalkeepers tend to get blamed for goals when most of the time it isn’t their fault (if the other defenders are doing a great job there won’t be any shots on goal). You should tell your goalkeeper before the game that the other team is expected to score goals & that it isn’t his fault if they score. Do not let anyone else (players or parents) blame the goalkeeper. In fact, after the game you should have the rest of the team thank the goalkeeper, even if he or she did make mistakes. You should encourage everyone who wants to to take a try at playing goalkeeper. You will be surprised who is good & you really can’t tell until they actually play the position. At the very least, it will give all the players respect for how tough the position is & they will be less likely to blame the goalkeeper when goals are scored. However, do not make a child play goalkeeper if he or she doesn’t want to. (See “Second Sweeper“, “Breakaway“, “Goal Kick“, “Fouls, Indirect Kick“, “Dangerous Play“, “Distribute“, “Penalty Box“, “Punting“, “Overarm Throw” & “Worrying The Goalkeeper“).

For How To Teach Goalkeeping, go to SoccerHelp Premium

(NOTE: If the Goalkeeper “possesses” the ball and “releases” it, then he can only handle it again after an opponent touches it, or if it is accidentally kicked back or headed or chested back by a teammate. He can’t pick it up if a teammate has intentionally kicked or thrown it to him. Notice that this rule only applies if he actually has “possession” of the ball, and not, for example, if he blocks touches a shot with his hands and then picks up the ball to “control” it. So, the important words here are “possession” and “released” — under this rule just touching the ball isn’t the same thing as having “possession” of the ball. However, in terms of protecting the Goalkeeper’s safety, some referees will consider the Goalkeeper to have the ball under his control if he even has one finger on it — this is to discourage attackers from trying to kick the ball out of the Keeper’s hands. Se. 2.b. at Fouls for clarification of this.)