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Soccer Ball Retention: What It Is

Soccer Ball Retention: What It Is

In soccer, a range of skills and strategies can make the difference between winning or losing a game. However, one skill stands out above all others, one that defines the pace of the game and often dictates the result: retention of the soccer ball. 

In every soccer game, players face various challenges, and one of the most fundamental and valuable aspects is the ability to retain the ball. 

Holding the soccer ball allows the team to maintain control of the game and create opportunities to advance, produce plays, and ultimately achieve success on the pitch.

What is soccer ball retention?

Ball retention in soccer refers to a strategy used by a team to maintain possession of the ball during play and prevent the opposing team from regaining it. 

It involves maintaining control of the ball through precise passing, tactical movement, and individual techniques to prevent opponents from intercepting it.

Ball retention is an integral part of the game, as it allows the team holding the ball to control the pace and dynamics of the game, create attacking opportunities, and simultaneously limit the opposing team’s chances to score. 

In addition, maintaining possession of the ball can physically and mentally wear down the opposing team, as they must constantly chase the team that has the ball.

This tactical approach is often associated with teams with exceptional technical and tactical ability, as it requires a high level of skill to maintain control of the ball while facing defensive pressure from the opponent.

However, it is essential to note that ball retention as a strategy does not always guarantee success, and there may be times when a team needs to be more direct and make vertical passes to penetrate a solid defense.

The relevance of ball retention

game mastery

Focus on the best teams in the world, and you’ll realize something: they have incredible ball control. 

It is the foundation of their game, allowing them to dictate the pace and style of the match. 

By holding the ball, you decide when and where the next attack is launched. 

It is an effective method to put your opponent in a defensive position and wear him down physically and mentally.

risk reduction

When you have the ball, the opposing team cannot score. 

Ball retention is an effective defensive strategy, as it minimizes your opponent’s opportunities to launch dangerous attacks.

Improving soccer ball retention

Technique and control

Practicing your ability to control and handle the ball is essential. 

This includes a variety of technical skills, such as first-touch control, dribbling, and precise passing. 

In this sense, the ability to protect the ball and keep it away from the opponent’s reach must also be worked on.

Spatial awareness and communication

Understanding the game and having a good field vision is crucial. 

You must know where your teammates and the opposing team’s players are. 

Effective communication with your teammates is vital to maintaining possession of the ball and creating scoring opportunities.

Physical resistance

Maintaining possession of the ball requires stamina. 

You need to be able to constantly move, change direction and speed to prevent the opposing team from getting the ball back.

Examples of soccer ball retention

FC Barcelona and the Tiki-Taka era

Under the management of Pep Guardiola, FC Barcelona became an iconic team remembered for its style of play known as “tiki-taka.” 

This style is characterized by possession of the ball, short and fast passes, and a fluid and constant game. 

They were a clear example of how ball retention can be used to dominate the game and achieve tremendous success.

The Spanish team in the Eurocup and the World Cup

Following a similar philosophy, the Spanish team dominated international football between 2008 and 2012, winning the Euro Cup twice and the World Cup in 2010.

This team, full of technically brilliant players, demonstrated the true power of ball possession.

The retention of the soccer ball as a strategic tool

Last but not least, it is essential to understand that ball retention is a strategic tool. 

It’s not just a matter of having the ball longer than your opponent, but what you do with it and how you use it to create chances and minimize your opponent’s.

So the next time you find yourself on the field of play, you’ll be reminded of the importance of soccer ball retention. 

Frequent questions

How does ball retention affect playing time?

Ball retention allows a team to control playing time. They can slow the pace if they are leading and want to consume time or speed it up if they need to score a goal.

Does the ball always have to be in motion during ball retention?

Not necessarily. A player can maintain possession of the ball without moving it, for example, by shielding it from opponents with his body. However, to maximize the effectiveness of the hold, it is preferable to keep the ball in motion.

Is ball retention an effective tactic against all teams?

It depends on the team and the game situation. Some groups are very good at pressing and winning back possession, making it difficult to hold the ball. Tailoring all tactics to your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses is essential.

How long can a goalkeeper hold the ball?

According to soccer rules established by FIFA, a goalkeeper can keep the ball in his hands for six seconds. Once the goalkeeper has released the ball, he may not touch it again with his hands until another player has touched it. These rules are designed to keep the game moving and to prevent goalkeepers from unnecessarily delaying playing time.

CeleBreak, an App for playing soccer

CeleBreak is an application that allows you to play soccer whenever and wherever you want.

It is available for the iOS and Android operating systems and is straightforward to register; you can do it using your Facebook account.

Once registered, you can see the date, times, location, and availability of the different friendly matches that CeleBreak organizes.

In the App, you will also see maps of the fields and a section of messages.

CeleBreak organizes friendly matches in different modalities, women’s, men’s, and mixed football.

Download the CeleBreak App and play!

Use your phone’s camera to scan the QR code and download our free app. Available for iOS and Android devices.