Pressing and Making the Field Smaller

By Sean Pearson

Area: 34 x 46 yards
Time: 15 mins
Players: 6v6

Objective:
• To recognize triggers to press as a team
• To compact the space around the ball to win the ball or force mistakes

Set Up:
The playing area is 3 zones one large middle zone with 2 end zones. Both teams set up in a 2-3-1 (however they can set up in any formation you wish) and if you have extra players use them as feeders outside the end zones to play the ball into the middle.

Execution:
The aim is to win the ball high up the field as possible and dribble or receive the ball inside the opponent’s end zone.

Look for the triggers of the ball being passed to one center back. As this is occurring the striker cuts of the line to the other center back and presses the ball to win. This small detail should tell the striker to get close enough to the center back to win the ball rather than stop before reaching the center back.

The rest of the team uses the same trigger as the striker (as well as the striker’s movement) to compact the area and restrict space making it harder for the team in possession to retain the ball.

Below we see all players have come over to almost half the size of the playing area. This clearly leaves space on the opposite side for the balls to be hit too, so players must pressure the person on the ball instantly to not allow that to happen. If they are late, then there is a possibility it will happen and therein lies a coaching point for the team/individual.

When either winning possession off of a tackle or a misplaced pass, the objective is to get the ball into the end zone by either dribble or receiving a pass. However, a coaching point should be to recognize where the space is before making this decision. If there is no space, then the team should go backwards to maintain possession.

The press should be applied for a short time period because it is high energy and players can’t sprint flat out forever. I would suggest the Barcelona 6 second rule that if the team pressing doesn’t win it inside of 6 seconds, their defending objective changes from pressing to dropping and containing to deny penetration, either until the team wins possession that way or they see an opportunity to press again.

Variations:
• Change formations
• Add feeders

By Sean Pearson. Sean is also the author Coaching Team Shape in the 3-3-1, Coaching Team Shape in the 4-2-3-1 and Coaching Team Shape in the 4-3-3

About the Author Michael Saif

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