This is a directional possession or wave practice. The session aims to encourage players to control the ball in an overload situation with quick combination play and accurate passing. Defenders are tasked with pressing outnumbered, winning the ball and trying to score before transitioning to possession and supporting their team mates.

About the Video

In the video below, Dave will talk you through the structure of the practice, various outcomes and how you can adapt it for your players.

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Practice Overview

Topic: Controlling Possession

No. of Players: 8 – 14

Goalkeepers: No

Practice Type: Positional Game

Offsides: No

Pitch Size: 30 x 20

Timing: 20 mins

Age Group: U10+

Interpreting the Diagrams

The key below outlines what the images mean on the diagrams.

If you have questions about the practices, contact the PDP Team or share your views on the Player Development Project Coaching Community.

Key For Diagrams
soccer training diagram


Set up a pitch with 4 mini goals and 2 halves. The possession team aim to keep the ball for as long as possible off the defending team who are outnumbered. If defending team win the ball they score in the mini goals and earn possession back for their team. As soon as goal is scored, coach serves ball to the spare players at opposite end and the game transitions quickly to the other half.
An example of the red team successfully intercepting the ball and scoring in the goal. This immediately triggers the next ball in from the coach to the opposite end.
An example of the practice set up with bigger numbers, in this case 7v7. 4 players press against 7 while 3 players stay spare ready to receive the next ball.
After a successful press by red, the coach shifts the ball into the opposite half to the two remaining players. Red players must transition quickly to support their teammates. Blues quickly shift up the pitch to press 3v6.
An example of the game with fewer players, in this case 8 players in a 4v4. 2 players wait for the next ball in while 2 press against 4. If you have uneven numbers, add in a neutral player which creates a 5v2 in possession.


To encourage players to control the ball in an overload. Defenders tasked with pressing outnumbered, winning the ball and scoring.


Set up pitch with 4 mini goals and 2 halves. If you have uneven numbered, use a neutral player as pictured. The coach passes the ball into the possession team (blue). They aim to keep the ball 6v3 for as long as possible. Reds aim to press and score in the red goals. If reds are successful, the coach serves a ball into the opposite end (red half) and players transition to the opposite end. Reds now try to keep the ball, blues press 3v6 and try to score in the blue goals.

Observations & Interventions

What you might see

  • Players rushing in possession.
  • Slow transition when winning or losing the ball

Actions you might take

  • Encourage players to enjoy the ball, take a touch and draw the press
  • Restrict players with a time limit to get into the other half to either support in possession or press as a team.

Adapted numbers:

  • 8 = 4v4 (4v2)
  • 9 = 4v4+1 (5v2)
  • 10 = 5v5 (5v3)
  • 12 = 6v6 (6v3)
  • 13 = 6v6+1 (7v4)
  • 14 = 7v7 (7v4)
  • 15 = 7v7+1 (8v4)
  • 16 = 8v8 (8v5)


Is the session too easy?

  • Make the space smaller
  • Add an extra defender

Is the session too hard?

  • Make the space bigger
  • Add a neutral player for team in possession
  • Reduce the number of defenders

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