Our Game Model breaks the game of football into 4 clear phases: when we have possession (BP), when the opposition has possession (BPO) and the two transition moments.
Counterpressing is a Key Principle of the Defending Transition (BP–>BPO) – the moment when we turn the ball. When we lose possession, we must transition immediately with an aggressive shift into defensive principles.
Counterpressing is about pressing the ball immediately upon losing possession. The players nearest to the ball should look to immediately apply pressure to the player on the ball, with nearby teammates moving towards the ball and blocking passing lanes to opposition players.
The key to counterpressing effectively is the immediate transition. You must react straightaway to the turnover of possession and press the opposition and the ball before they even have a moment to decide what to do with possession.
Done successfully, counterpressing:
- Suffocates the opposition
- Prevents the opposition from progressing the ball forward
- Allows us to regain the ball high up the pitch and therefore be in a good attacking position
Some of the best teams in the world like Tottenham, Bayern Munich and the Socceroos are very effective at counterpressing.
To be able to counterpress effectively, we need to positioned correctly in BP (in possession) so we have balance and cover behind the ball. If too many players are high up the pitch or if we are too spread out with our positioning, we will be unable to press effectively
Look at the scene below – this is a direct example with realistic positions from our game v St Pats. As we had the ball, we are setup in our 4-3-3 shape, but as the ball is turned over, the players close to the ball have moved immediately towards the ball and closed off nearby passing lanes. This is a fantastic example of how we are aggressive and proactive in counterpressing to suffocate the opposition once they win the ball.