Soccer Possession Style

An "indirect" style of play that emphasizes ball control and many short passes, as opposed to long airballs. The argument in favor of this style is that it teaches players to control the ball. The argument against overemphasis on this style is that players can lose sight of the real objective, which is to score, and not to just see how many consecutive passes can be made (i.e, a team should possess the ball in order to score, but the objective is to score and not to just possess the ball). Most people agree that Possession Soccer is an ideal way to play BUT the problem with playing Possession Soccer is that it requires a great deal of skill by the players involved, and if your team loses the ball in front of your goal, your opponent might score an easy goal - that is true even for the best professional teams and because of that a lot of teams don't play "Possession" in dangerous situations near their goal, they simply clear the ball away from their goal if opponents are nearby. My recommendation is to have your team play Possession Soccer to the extent they are realistically capable. Very few teams in the world can play 100%, Full-Field Possession Soccer against teams of equal speed (it is easier against slower teams). If you have a typical U12 Select Team (100% good, skilled players), they can probably play Possession Soccer in the Middle Third and your Attacking Third, and pass the ball out of your Defensive Third if opponents aren't pressuring the ball. But if you have a typical Rec team that has some unskilled and timid players, it is impossible to play 100% Full-Field Possession Soccer because you have "weak links" and the best you can hope for is to play Possession Soccer in your Attacking Third or Attacking Half, where your skilled players are. ADVICE - If you have a Rec team, encourage your players to play Possession Soccer to the extent they can, BUT don't try to make them do something they simply can't do, because they will be unsuccessful and it won't be fun. Remember that every team is different - be realistic about your team and remember that you can't play Possession Soccer if your team has "weak links" who can't pass the ball while under pressure (it is much harder to maintain possession if there is defensive pressure, and the greater the pressure, the harder it is to maintain possession). It can be argued that the best Attacking Style is one that mixes short and long passes - that is true in other sports such as American football and is logical because the threat of a long ball keeps opponents from crowding up when you have the ball in your Defensive Half (some opponents will have to stay at the Halfway Line to defend against long balls). Some people think "Possession Soccer" cannot be combined with "Attacking Soccer" (meaning a more direct style that uses long passes and long "over-the-top" airballs), but that is not true. In fact, the two styles can be effectively combined. For example, the Amsterdam professional team Ajax (pronounced "eye' ax") does so, often playing a series of short passes in the "middle third" (in order to lull the opponent and to give their Forwards time to go forward) and then suddenly sending a long airball into the Penalty Box. See "Styles of Play", "Formations" and "Attacking Plan" for more information and attacking styles more suitable for recreational teams.

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