Possession Under Pressure

The following training session comes from 2016 Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic Featured Presenter, Dick Bate.

Dick Bate is the FIFA & Asian Football Confederation Technical Consultant & Former FA Elite Coaching Manager. Full Bio


Getting players to maintain possession of the ball under defensive pressure is a vital soccer skill. If your team has the soccer ball you are more likely to score and the other team cannot possibly score without it. Here are three drills from Dick Bate to help your team improve their ability to maintain possession under pressure.

Two groups of 3 players.

One group passes and retains possession while under pressure from 1 player from the opposing teams.

After approximately 10 seconds the defending player is replaced by a teammate who takes over the defending responsibility.

Also can use two teams of 4 and play 4 v 2 with the other 2 defenders resting.


A game of 4 v 2 or 5 v 3 players inside the square.

A group of 4 players developing passing techniques and skill outside the square.

The outside group attempts to pass to their player within the square as often as possible through the players playing the 4 v 2 / 5 v 3 game.


A game of 6 v 6 including the goalkeepers.

Each team plays with a "sweeper" / free defender while the others play as attackers against man-marking opponents.

The "sweeper" player can be changed every 3-5 minutes.

Passing and receiving skills when man-marked will be challenged with this practice.