Keeping The Ball Soccer Drills (Possession Skills)

It’s important to keep the ball – you can only score when you have the ball. Possession of the ball frustrates the opposition and allows you to create chances that lead to goals.

Improve your ability to hold on to the ball with these soccer drills we have for you. This is a list of fun drills that you will have with your team and friends.

Soccer Player Keeping A Ball From A Defender
Soccer Player Keeping A Ball From A Defender ○ Soccer Blade

Keeping The Ball Soccer Drills

Sharks and Minnows: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-8
  • Length of Session: 10 mins
  • Number of Players: 6+
  • Skills to Learn: dribbling, keeping head up, ball control
  • Equipment: balls for each player, cones, pinnies optional.

Description: Kids try to dribble from one side to the other without getting tagged by the shark. Anyone tagged becomes a shark.

Drill Set-up: 

  • Create a large rectangle suitable for the number and age of players. For example, 35 meters long by 20 meters wide for 12-15 6-year-olds. 
  • Give each player a ball and line them up on the starting line.
  • Select a “shark” to start. 
Sharks And Minnows Soccer Drill Soccerblade.com
Sharks And Minnows Soccer Drill Soccerblade.com

Drill Instructions

  1. Line up all of the “minnows” with their balls.
  2. Choose 1-2 sharks and place them in the middle of the space. 
  3. When you say go, have the minnows try to dribble across the other side without getting tagged by a shark. 
  4. Anyone who is tagged must become a shark for the next round.
  5. Challenge players to see who can be the last minnow standing.
  6. Younger kids, 4-6, can focus on just tagging the player. For kids 6-8, change the rules so they must knock the ball away from the minnow to count. For kids 8-10 or with advanced skills, you can require them to take full possession of the ball. 
  7. Another way to make the drill more challenging is to make the space smaller. 
  8. You can also add specific dribbling challenges within the game (weak foot only, must complete 2 moves before crossing, etc.

2 v 2 Possession Squares: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Ages: 12 to 18+
  • Drill Name: 2 v 2 Possession Squares
  • Session Length: 5 to 8 minutes
  • Number of players: minimum of 4 players, broken into groups of 2
  • Skills learned: Agility, first touch, quick passing, tackling, and pressing
  • Equipment: 4 cones, 1 ball per pair

Drill Setup

  • Position 4 cones 10 to 15 yards apart to form a square. 
  • Divide the team into pairs. 
  • 2 teams take their place in the square while the other pairs wait outside. 
2 V 2 Possession Squares
2 V 2 Possession Squares

Drill Instructions

  1. The coach selects one team to start with the ball and one team to defend. 
  2. The game goes live once the first pass is played. 
  3. The team in possession tries to keep the ball by passing and dribbling. 
  4. The defending team attempts to win back possession through tackling or intercepting. 
  5. If the defending team wins the ball back, they attempt to keep possession from their opponents. 
  6. The first team to make 5 consecutive passes wins. 
  7. The winning team begins the next round in possession. A new pair replaces the losing team, beginning the round as the defenders. 
  8. If neither team wins after 60 seconds, the round is over and 2 fresh teams enter the square. 

Drill Variations

  • The number of players per team can be extended up to 11. The square should be made larger to accommodate additional players. 
  • If players are struggling to retain possession, consider changing the dynamic to a 3 v 2 or 4 v 2. The team of 3 starts in possession. As soon as they lose the ball, the round is over and a new 3 v 2 matchup is made.

Piggy In The Middle: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Piggy In The Middle
  • Session Length: 5 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 9 to 18
  • Skills learned: Passing, movement, positioning, blocking 
  • Equipment: 8 cones, 1 ball

Drill Setup

  • Create a 10-yard, 4-cone square grid. 
  • Split the grid into 3 even sections using the remainder of the cones. 
  • Divide the team into groups of 3. 
  • 3 groups participate at a time. 
  • 2 groups are designated as attackers, occupying the sections on either end of the grid. 
  • 1 group is designated as the defender and occupies the middle section. 
  • The attackers begin with the ball. 
Piggy In The Middle
Piggy In The Middle

Drill Instructions

  1. The objective of this drill is for the attackers to successfully pass the ball from one side of the grid to the other. However, all players must stay inside the section they are assigned to.
  2. Each trio of attackers can play a maximum of 3 consecutive passes inside their section before they must attempt to switch play to the opposite side. 
  3. If the defensive group wins possession, they switch with the group at fault. 
  4. If an attacking player misplaces a pass outside of the grid, their team must switch with the defensive group. 
  5. The team that successfully switches the play on 5 consecutive occasions is the winner. 

Drill Variations

  • Create a competition to see which group can win 3 separate games. 
  • Limit the number of touches per player. 
  • Set a time limit for players to keep the ball inside their section. 
  • Allow 1 defender to enter either attacking grid while that group is in possession.

Channel Possession: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Channel Possession
  • Session Length: 10 to 15 minutes
  • Age Group: 12+
  • Number of players: 10 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: Passing, movement, positioning, counter attacking 
  • Equipment: 10 cones, 1 ball, 2 goals 

Drill Setup

  • Use approximately half the length and the full width of the field for this drill. 
  • Extend the penalty box lines by placing cones all the way from the edge of the penalty box to the halfway line (or end of the playing field). This creates 3 separate sections (1 left, 1 center, and 1 right).
  • Set up 2 goals. If you have goalkeepers, use full-size goals. If not, small goals are fine.
  • Divide the team into groups of 5 outfield players. 
  • 5 attackers and 5 defenders occupy either end of the field. 
  • If you have goalkeepers, assign 1 goalkeeper to each team.
Channel Possession
Channel Possession

Drill Instructions

  1. The objective of this drill is to score against the opposition. However, the attacking team can only score if they have at least 1 player in every section. This encourages players to create space and use the entire width of the field. 
  2. The defending team must stay in the center section. 
  3. Encourage attacking players to switch the play where possible, creating space on the wings. Attackers can rotate positions freely. 
  4. If the defenders win possession, they are now the attacking team. They should counterattack quickly to score while the opposition is out of position. However, they must adopt the same rules, meaning they must have at least 1 player in every section to score. 
  5. The first team to score 3 goals wins. 

Drill Variations

  • Scale this drill up or down depending on the number of available players. 
  • Set time limits to score when teams are in possession. 
  • Set a minimum number of consecutive passes before a team can score. 

Multiphase Attacking Possession: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Multiphase Attacking Possession 
  • Session Length: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 10+
  • Number of players: 8 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: Passing, movement, positioning, dribbling, finishing
  • Equipment: 4 cones, 1 ball, 1 goal

Drill Setup

  • Use the penalty box and surrounding area for this drill. 
  • If you have a goalkeeper, set up a full-size goal. If not, create a small goal using cones.
  • Divide the team into groups of 4. 
  • 4 attackers and 4 defenders participate at a time. 
  • The attackers form a circle outside the penalty box with the ball. 
  • 2 defenders stand inside the circle of attackers. 
  • 2 defenders wait inside the penalty box. 
Multiphase Drill
Multiphase Drill

Drill Instructions

  1. The drill starts as a passing rondo. The attackers try to complete 5 consecutive passes. 
  2. If the defenders win possession, they switch roles with the attackers. 
  3. Once a team completes 5 consecutive passes, the rondo defenders must stop trying to win the ball. 
  4. The attackers then take on the defenders inside the penalty box and try to score. They can pass, dribble, or shoot from wherever they like. 
  5. Encourage the attackers to be smart regarding their positional play, using their numerical mismatch to make space and create a high percentage of goal-scoring chances. 
  6. After each round, the attackers and defenders switch roles. 
  7. If there are more groups, rotate them after each round. 

Drill Variations

  • Limit the number of touches for attacking players. 
  • Add extra defenders to increase the difficulty for attackers. 
  • Create a competition to see which team can score the most goals. 
  • Scale this drill up or down depending on the number of available players. 

4 v 4 End Line Playmaking: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 4 v 4 End Line Playmaking
  • Session Length: 10 to 15 minutes
  • Age Group: 10+
  • Number of players: 8 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: Positioning, give-and-go passing, movement, finishing
  • Equipment: 6 cones, 1 ball, 4 mini goals

Drill Setup

  • Create a 20-yard long, 15-yard wide, cone grid as your playing field. 
  • Place 2 goals near the corner flags on either end of the field. 
  • Divide the team into groups of 4. 
  • 2 groups compete against each other at a time. 
  • Each group must elect 1 player to stand between the opposition’s goal posts along the end line. The rest of the players are free to move around as they please. 
  • The coach chooses a team to start in possession.
4 V 4 End Line Playmaker
4 V 4 End Line Playmaker

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, the game goes live and the teams compete in a regular 4 v 4 game.
  2. The goal of the drill is to outscore the opposition. 
  3. The players standing between the posts can move along the end-line but may not move onto the field or past the goalposts. They are not allowed to score.
  4. A team may only score if they play 2 passes through their end-line player in a single possession. The passes don’t have to be consecutive. 
  5. Encourage players to make give-and-go passes and create patient buildup play, simulating real game scenarios. 
  6. The first team to score 5 goals is the winner. 
  7. Mix up teams after each game. 
  8. If you have enough players, create multiple teams and rotate them between games. 

Drill Variations

  • Create a tournament if you have enough players.
  • Set a minimum pass to rule before teams can score. 
  • Limit individual touches to 2 per possession. 
  • Consider increasing the mandatory number of passes to the end-line players before a team can score. 

Soccer Blade has more than 100 drills – for more go to our soccer drills page. If you need equipment for your soccer drills, check out our soccer equipment page.

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