Coaching Tips & Analysis

What is Position Game in Football or “Juego de Posicion” and how to work on it?

position game in football


The “Juego de Posicion” or “position game” is a way of seeing and understanding football. It allows you to dominate your opponent through the position and movements of your players on the field. Explanations.

The “Position Play” is an idea, an identity, a style, a way of seeing and understanding the game. For many, it reflects a way of playing as well as the behavior of a team in competition.

It is a philosophy that allows you to dominate the opponent through the position of your players. The Juego de Posicion allows you to have a game model with very specific characteristics: playing the ball in coordination with the different moments and phases of the game (which are linked to each other) and of course having its own operational organization. The idea behind Juego de Posicion is to have a pro-active attitude towards the game through possession of the ball, or its rapid recovery.

What is Position Game in Football (or “Juego de Posicion”)?

“Juego de Posicion”, or positional play, is about creating superiorities from the position of your players, particularly when you have the ball, and with the aim of dominating the opposing defense. For this, players are organized and placed at different heights and in different “corridors” both in width and depth on the field.

While counter-pressing allows for rapid recovery of the ball after losing the ball, Juego de Posicion focuses strictly on the position of your players on the field. The objective is to find situations of superiority over the opponent or to generate them gradually from the moment the ball is recovered until the end of the action. You must generate numerical superiorities behind the 1st line of defense, create opportunities with short passes and get the whole team to move together.

Understanding position game in football or position play!

The goal is obviously to dominate the game by having possession and creating numerical superiorities in the different lines (defense, midfield and attack).

“Positional play is about creating superiorities from the position of the players on the field”
Juan Manuel Lillo

The organization is always done in relation to the position of the ball. In a Juego de Posicion, this allows the team, players and ball to move together on the field. Remember: the players and the ball move together, whether in the offensive phase or in the defensive phase. The whole then forms a single block.

After losing the ball, your team is still in sync. His way of attacking conditions his way of defending . Another main objective of Juego de Posicion is obviously to generate goal situations, this philosophy is a way to bring your team towards the last meters of the opponent.

The consequence of all this is that your team, when it loses the ball, is regrouped and can quickly defend and press. Opponent counterattacks then become very difficult. In short, you will have understood, the attack conditions the way of defending and therefore conditions the opponent’s game.

What are the basic concepts of “Juego de Posición”?

Remember to play between the opposing lines and create small diamond, square or triangle formations in order to circulate the ball in the best possible way. It is important to make short passes between the closest players, to find an unmarked player on the opposite side.

Some useful concepts to fully understand the Juego de Posicion:

  • Look for the pass in close spaces and then play a long pass to a free player, this is generally called “draw to release” .
  • Passes must produce “something”, the idea is not to pass for the sake of passing.
  • You have to know when to continue handling the ball (to attract an opposing player for example) and when to let go of the ball.

“You won’t score if you don’t take your opponent out”
Pep Guardiola

3 examples of Position Game in football, exercises.

There are many exercises to work on positional play and here we offer 3 examples that you can use during your next training session. These examples of positional play are inspired by exercises used by Pep Guardiola during his spells at FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

1. “Position game” in 4vs4 + 3 neutral players

Inspired by Pep Guardiola’s famous positional game, this exercise is perfect for working on the position of your players and their relationship to space.

game position in football
Positional game in 4vs4 + 3 neutral players

First of all, make a rectangle of approximately 10x20m . For this positional play exercise, then prepare 2 teams of 4 players and a neutral team of 3 players (so 11 players in total). Possession will be 7vs4 throughout the exercise.

The team located around the field (3 neutral players) always plays with the team in possession of the ball . The other 4 players are then in a defensive position and try to recover the ball. When the team has recovered the ball, it then passes into possession of the ball with the team of 3 neutral players.

The team that lost the ball finds itself in the center and must then defend.

2. High Intensity 3vs3+2 Possession Play

A typical positional game exercise that will allow your players to work on the attack-defense transition while constantly remaining at a high level of intensity.

Possession Play
High Intensity 3vs3+2 Possession Play

Place a square of approximately 20x20m and form 3 teams . Two teams will be composed of 3 players and the last will only be composed of 2 players. The team which will be made up of 2 players will serve as a joker and will always play with the team which has possession.

Then, place a blue player on each of the 2 opposite sides of the square and the last one in the center. The 3 red players are located inside the zone. The jokers (yellow players in our animation) are positioned on the 2 remaining sides.

The exercise starts with possession of the blue players within the zone using the 2 yellow jokers, which gives us a 5vs3 for this first sequence. The red team will carry out high-intensity pressing to try to recover the ball and close the angles . If the team in a defensive position (red) recovers the ball, it changes roles with the blue team (which therefore finds itself entirely inside the square) and carries out counter-pressing to try to recover the ball as quickly as possible. quickly possible.

Note that the joker players (located on the sides) are not untouchable. The defending team can absolutely press one of these players. This is one of the big differences with the previous exercise.

3. “Juego de Posición” in possession 9vs9 + 2 supports

Positional play, popularized by Pep Guardiola, will be a determining element of this exercise. Ideal when you have a large number of players during a session. Remember that placement will be essential throughout the exercise.

game position exercise
“Juego de Posición” in possession 9vs9 + 2 supports

Define a field of approximately 30x40m and create 2 teams of 9 players . Then place 2 supports , one on each length. The exercise starts with a pass from the coach to the blue team.

A possession of the blue team follows with the help of the 2 red players in support outside the field (who serve as jokers). The yellow team must defend as a block and try to block passing angles in order to recover the ball.

When the ball is recovered by the team in defensive possession (yellow here), the latter takes the place of the blue offensive team and a new possession begins.

What are the objectives of Position Play ?

Here are some objectives specific to “Juego de Posicion” (position game):

  • Fast ball movement speed, play one or two touches, quickly.
  • Allows constant support to the ball carrier.
  • Allows you to develop controls, whether on short or long passes.

“Look further. The first thing Johan Cruyff asked us was to always look further.”
Pep Guardiola

Here are 3 examples of position game exercises that you can use during your next training sessions. You can also access hundreds of exercises on different themes (counter-pressing, positional play, tactical drills etc.) by following our social networks!