Forward play and player rotation (accepting responsibility for each other)
This is a good possession practice that can incorporate many different things. It’s so simple yet very effective (my favourite sort of session) It promotes movement, and more importantly forward play. If you play with a diamond 4 in midfield this will be ideal too. Further more you can add in support play in attack.
We start off in a 30×30 area (adjust accordingly depending on your needs, number of players etc). Set up with two teams, one ball, play possession football against each other, with two players from each side opposite each other on the outside of the square as per the diagram
Teams work ball from one side to another, from outside player to outside player and back again. Depending on age and ability you can limit touches. For senior players i’d have two touces inside the grid and one for the outside players. Make sure you switch the player on the outside often, and make sure they know they can move along the outside of the grid.
Progress the session now, so that players can switch with their team mate on the outside.
It’s important that players only switch with team mates with short passes. Realistically a player isn’t going to pass 20 yards and yell SWITCH before sprinting over.
The idea is that now the ball has been passed to the outside player, he is the one facing forward, so can he play forward, and his team mate takes his place? This encourages players to play forwards keeping good possession. It encourages players to fill in for their team mate if they push forward leaving their position vacant in case of a counter attack too. As mentioned before this is a good practice if you like midfield players to rotate perhaps in a diamond formation. This is about promoting players who have their backs to goal in possession of the ball, to pass and allow a team mate, who is facing forward, to play forward effectively.
You can again progress the session, for example, by encouraging a striker to hold the ball up, combine with a supporting team mate, before spinning off to support a forward pass to then perhaps even SWITCH!
These sort of practices allow you as coaches to get your players to think outside the norm, to understand further responsibilities. It must be played at high intensity. You can coach overloads, over laps, under laps etc to compliment the aim, to get the ball forward and maintain good posession.