From the beginning of the world till today football is moving and developing, getting new shapes which change old ones.
Football searches and finds new ways, changes us who work with it; we influence over the use of these changes in our way and this is all that improves football itself = keeping the essence of football game.
From time to time there is space which can be filled in each part of the game no matter what it is about, technics, physical preparation, tactics, psychological preparation, methodology or systematization of the training etc, all in purpose of getting the top game and top results.
Quite a long period of time has passed and football has passed and changed through different phases. The theory tried to follow and explain all that. So it brings us to the question how to beat those who are better than we are and to the answer which leads us through football game because football is one of the rare sports that makes this possible and even more frequent than in any other sport.
The subject of this work is PRESSING ON THE BALL AND SPACE and it was done in a special, modern way adapted to time and enriched by experience of the original and improved pressing which gives us more universal way of its use. In modern football pressing appeared after ZONE PLAY and play “a man on a man” whose best representative was Germany. Later by football development extremelly qualified individuals appeared who couldn’t be guarded well. Zone play [ on take-over ] was back but it wasn’t enough so a new kind of pressing appeared: PRESSING ON THE BALL. As football was becoming faster and faster game in a technical as well as in tactical way with more and more high class players who were able to surprise by unexpected solutions and change the course of the match in a countless number of situations, time brought a new combined kind of pressing and it was PRESSING ON THE BALL AND SPACE.
This is the subject which we pay attention to here because it emerges as the most applicable to and against all systems.
Each trainer and player should know the rules of pressing and learn them in order to apply PRESSING ON THE BALL AND SPACE with his team. When we say: learn – we think of theoretical knowledge, through the system of exercises and trainings to learn the rules of pressing.


A – First of all we should learn the technical element: taking a ball away
Taking a ball away – individual:[1] – by predicting [ jumping ] in front of the rival or cutting across the directed ball[2] – at the moment of receiving the ball by being so close to the rival and ready to start upon the ball at the same moment[2a] – in case of bad ball acceptance by being ready to take over or reject the ball[3] – being late for variants 1, 2, 2a, we put ourselves in a situation that when a rival has power over the ball again, by our attitude [ back dance ] we wait patiently for the moment to go for a ball or get into a duel at the moment when a rival has the least control over the ball.[4] – after the third possibility there is the last option, ramming or sliding start. Sliding start means both to reject or to take the ball.

Taking the ball away in pairs:
It is also necessary to train a player for this kind of taking [ vertically, horizontally, diagonally ] with accepted aggressive attack on the ball and not less aggressive correction of the other player.
Taking a ball away with three players:
We arrived to the key way of taking away connected with the subject PRESSING ON THE BALL AND SPACE which must be brought by training to extremelly fast transformation and performance depending on the position of the ball.
It’s very important to acquire a principle which says that when we want to take a ball away with three players, we always have to respect the rule

that the player who goes on the ball does that energetically, quickly and aggressively and the other two players should control the space around and behind that player.
Taking a ball away with four players:

This is a preparation for the complete PRESSING ON THE BALL AND SPACE where we put players in the situations to control space at a regular distance both in width and in depth by predicting the possibility of the ball arrival even when it happens unexpectedly.

B – Physical preparation is implied as a significant rule of the pressing game. It implies the ability of all players to make a great number of repetitions of learned and trained movements in high rhythm and pace capable of a lot of contacts with additional effort to be able to run into offensive action after winning the ball.

C – Mutual, parallel, synchronized moving inside the ‘block’ which is formed quickly in case of losing the ball. Establishing synchronization and transformation of the roles inside the ‘block’ at each change of the rival’s pass.

D – We have to organize the ‘block’ in a shallow and often narrow form where all the players in the ‘block’ are in a situation to help each other both directly or indirectly by correct moving.


Pressing on the ball and space naturally appears as a consequence of fast modern football in which the least tactical mistake is punished.
It is a product of all sorts of previous pressings [ player-player; pressing on the ball; pressing on space ] as well as combinations of the mentioned pressings. Using the other sports’ experience and taking into consideration that football is played in a very big field, we ‘lessen’ this field for game and manoeuvre by our arragement of the players [block] and we allow the least possible number of combinations among our players in the field.
There is one more fact that confirms this statement and it is that a ‘block’ game in this way of pressing use doesn’t allow any big changes; we stay compatible with sufficient number of players for a qualitative and group taking the ball over.
Pressing needs perfect physical preparation, a high level of technical- tactical knowledge, game harmony, with the same mutual way of thinking [ ruled by the same idea ]. The principle is that all players of the team which has to win the ball, using this kind of pressing, must synchronize their individual, lineal and team movements with occasional and above all in due time jumping on the ball from the ‘block’ at each pass change and also on the player who is in a vertical position with the ball considering his net
This kind of task is even more difficult because it means that by accepting this style of game we must change the mentality of the team. The psychological preparation also takes a lot of space because a new kind of logic has to be accepted by players and the team.
The system of exercises on the trainings in small groups will lead players to the same way of thinking, mutual running and mutual activity and all that in purpose of taking the ball away. All the players are included [ with precisely divided duties ]. It includes moving, too which allows that at the moment of taking the ball over – coming into possession – all conditions are ripe to organize very fast attack, faster than in any other kind of defence, counter-attack with more players ready to surprise with their participation no matter which position they occupy on the team.
The essence of the PRESSING ON THE BALL AND SPACE must be seen in a fast transformation of the players in front of the ball in a system of a triangle. That means the player of the team which defends itself and is in a vertical position with the ball, must be the first to attack the ball and two players [ from the same team ] follow his leaving in the way that they form a triangle behind him – occupying positions from the left and right behind the player who runs on the ball.
They are protection in case that the player with the ball goes from the dribbling either to the left or to the right. They also stay enough wide in a triangle, so that a pass can’t be played among a player who stands in front and those two behind.
This practically says that it is about an attack upon the ball with three players [ 1+2 ] in a triangle with the top toward the ball [ the role of taking away ‘A’ with three players]. The player who goes for the ball has to perform that energetically, strongly, aggressively, quickly but also ready to take a new position in case of change of the ball possession [ a pass to the other rival player ] and make pressing on space which is made by movement of his team player.
In case of change of the pass next one who leaves and attacks the ball is also a player who is in a vertical position with the ball and two ‘new’ team players behind him form the same triangle and protect the space on both sides, left and right.
All other players who don’t directly take part in pressing [ 1+2 ], participate indirectly by preparing for a new role with clear defined movements. They make pressing on space depending on the players standing in front of them who are directly engaged in taking the ball away.
The part of the field next to the out line should be emphasized. We have big help there in the shape of ‘new team player’ and it is the out line. We think of it as a ‘team player’ and have to understand that if we have six or seven or eight players with correct taking of the positions toward the out line, we practically have seven or eight or nine players ready to possess the ball. We shouldn’t forget that if we make the rival to cross the out line in that place, we also come into possession of the ball in indirect way.
The rival will often be forced to long passes for solutions that are only apparent opened but actually our team is ready for them.
As all possible solutions can’t be prevented in football, this way enables us to prevent those more dangerous – more concrete solutions especially through the middle where it is shorter to reach our goal. On the other hand, we will allow other solutions on purpose, but at the same time we will be ready if the game goes directly to that solution – we are ready to solve that new situation. That practically means that we lead the game even when the rival has the ball in his possession, because we offer the solutions we are ready for.
This kind of pressing can be efficiently made after the middle line of the field or across the middle line, that’s it in the attack preparation zone.
To use high pressing on the back line of the rival and away from the attack preparation zone can be a risk because by making a long pass across our block, we risk to defend a counter-attack.
That’s the reason why this pressing is always done in the same zone – the attack preparation zone, because practice showed that the most efficient use was there. It is also the most optional position with enough space in front of our team that stays for different kinds of attacks.