How to coach pressing in football
Ever wondered what makes a player good at pressing? We explore how The FA's core capabilities can help your team master this football skill.
Scanning informs decision-making, and it's something players must do throughout the game. Getting your head up and taking in your surroundings is essential to pressing in football. Your players need to look for:
where opponents are
where teammates are
where the ball might go
any triggers that could initiate a press, like a loose pass or touch.
After taking this information in, players can anticipate when to press – and position themselves accordingly. They can also encourage teammates to do the same.
To develop scanning skills, challenge your players to look around before setting off to close someone down. You can also encourage them to play 'like meerkats'. Using this playful prompt is effective, especially for young players. It promotes the idea of raising your head and looking around without stopping the activity to go into more detail.
The timing of a press is vital. Ultimately players will be unsuccessful if they press at the wrong time.
If possible, the best approach is to press quickly after losing possession. This prevents the opposition from initiating their own attack. But if a player sets off too early, the team could be exposed at the back, allowing the opponent to skip past. If they're too late, the opposition will have time to decide exactly where to move the ball.
To ensure players get their timing right, simply allow them lots of opportunities to try the activity you're working on. By having more attempts at the practice – rather than swiftly moving on or trying it just once – they'll deepen their understanding of the task and improve their timing.