Possession for U9s

  • Age group – U9 and up
  • Number of players – whole team
  • Pre-requisites – ball control, shielding the ball

Warm up

Pass and Chase – Groups of 6 in circles, each circle with one ball. Player with ball passes the circle to another player, chases pass to pressure passer into one or two touch pass. Play continuously.

Two Balls – Two teams in medium size space (like 30 x 40 yards for U14 boys playing teams of 6) each start with a ball. Each team works to maintain possession of one ball, win possession of other team’s ball. Point for every success, play to 3 or 4 points, move on. For 18 players, use up to 4 balls. Encourages small group play, decision making in support of possession.

Basic Possession – 1 v 1 Game

The following game allows players to practice shielding, cushioning and change of direction.

keeping possession

Start by making a field about 20 yards long and 15v wide. Goals are placed at each end. Players are placed in each goal. These players cannot leave the goal. Two players and one ball are on the field.

The object of the drill is for the field players to complete 2 successive passes to either goalkeeper. They need to shield the ball from the defender and then cushion the defender away from the area where the pass is coming from. If the defender beats the cushion and enters the area they need to change direction quickly and head for the other side of the field.

Two complete passes = 1 point and every additional pass beyond 2 in a row is another point.

Basic Possession – Keep Away

The next game also incorporates shielding, cushioning and spin away moves. The field in this case is short but very wide. This helps to teach the concept of width.


The game can either be played with four goals that the players have to dribble through or can be played strictly as keepaway where points are given for proper shielding and spin away moves.

Divide the field in half and play 3 on 3. Allow only 2 players from any team within any half of the field. This discourages bunching up. Take the ball away when they forget.

Coaching Points:

1. Defenders get low and stay low

2. Defenders do not dive in

3. Shield the ball, attacker is low and arms are away from the body.

4. Support player close but not right on top of the player.

5. Switch the field often

6. Discourage just kicking the ball away. If players do this continually, penalize the team by having them perform an exercise like 5 pull back Vees before they can rejoin the play.

Shielding – 4 Corners – Match Related

The following exercise was suggested by a coach, who remains nameless, from the soccer-coach-l mailing list.


This exercise teaches shielding, checking back, blind side runs and aggressiveness.

4 corners

Set up the field as shown with a player at each of the four corners. One player at

one corner has a ball. Two players are in the middle, one is the attacker, one is

the defender.

Playing Shielding Four Corners

Pass comes from the corner man to the attacker. The attacker has to make a run, or a check to the ball to shake the defender. She then has to control the ball, under pressure, and shield the ball from the defender.

The attacker then has to get the ball to another corner person. She is not allowed to give the ball back to the original passer.

Count how many passes are made before the defender wins the ball. If the defender wins, she passes the ball back to a corner player immediately and the game restarts.

Switch players often. This is an exhausting drill.