The importance of possession
It is man's destiny to evolve as much as he can in order to fulfill his true potential. While I can't lay claim to what is best to do for man, I do have some ideas as to what is better for the soccer player of our days to do. While a godly physique and natural talent always come in handy, what many haven't got can be amended through tactical knowledge. Soccer has evolved, there's no denying that, and it will continue to do so while there are enthusiasts such as you and me out there. But while some changes will come naturally, others will come about due to the sheer brilliance of some gifted few. I can only assume that this is what was thought of the first guy who attempted an overhead kick. The one, who actually scored in the process, is probably revered even today. But changes in the game reflect not only the brilliance of those who entertain us on the pitch but off it, as well. I am referring to coaches, of course.
And one of the most notable achievements of coaches, tactically wise in a while, is the implementation of possession football. This change in the approach of a game has seen the midfield players receive an importance like never before. Mainly due to the fact that they press, they create chances and they get into finishing positions as well. How is this possible? The answer is through simple, fast passing. You didn't think possession football meant holding on to the ball and running around like crazy, did you? No player can hold on to the ball indefinitely, that's why he has teammates.
The passing method that best suits the possession football is that of the short pass. In the following we will elaborate on a drill that will facilitate exactly that. Unlike the long pass, the small pass is a more precise one. Thus, if you view possession football as the way to go for your team, you must have players that will achieve a pass success ratio of at least 70-80 percent. But short doesn't necessarily mean simple. These passes can vary in complexity but the outcome must always be the same: a successful pass that will see the teammate receive the ball in such fashion that it provides a little bit of space for him, in order to shoot or pass in turn.
Piggy in the Middle
Let's empathize on a drill designed to do just that: piggy in the middle. This will do wonders for your team's first touch and ball control. Here's how you go about it: you start with 8 players forming a circle, in its centre you place two players, the goal of the other 8 is to keep the ball away from the unlucky 'piggies'. The progression of this drill implies increasing the tempo and keeping in mind the fact that the players on the outside cannot pass the ball to the player sitting next to them. Finally, if all goes well, you change the ratio to 7 versus 3. Should do wonders in increasing the quality of the first touch. Don't forget to encourage them to pass with the inside, as well as the outside of the foot. It also determines improved communication between the players. All in all, a great drill to try out.