Every soccer coach has the drills they love to run as often as possible. For me, I enjoy keep-away related drills for a number of reasons.

The benefits of playing keep away is plentiful. First and foremost, keep away is especially valuable for working on passing and possession. If your team is going to be successful it will be terribly important for them to learn, understand and master the art of maintaining possession and controlling the flow of the game.

On the defensive side of the ball, keep-away drills force players to apply heavy pressure. It also teaches players to counter and stay in tuned to what is happening when they don’t have the ball: The priority if you don’t have the ball should always be to get it. If you lose it, chase it. If you can’t get it, apply pressure and delay the carrier. As cliche as it sounds, the game revolves around the ball.

Finally, small sided keep away drills of the even and uneven ratio give players lots of touches on the ball, which should always be of importance. Keep away and it’s many variations are valuable for improving the play and understanding of your soccer team.