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Tiki Taka Football (The Barcelona Style of Play)

Learn how to play football like Barcelona. Where they don't let the other team have possession of the soccer ball. And if they do lose the ball, they fight to win it back right away.

What do you call the Barcelona style of play? It's call Tiki Taka football, which more or less means touch-touch. The tiki taka style of play is characterized by possessing the ball for large portions of the game, moving the ball quickly from one player to the next and in and out of the opponent, breaking them down with short passes. It is a huge game of keep away, with the other team acting as the "piggy in the middle".

Essentially, the key idea with tiki taka is to always keep the ball away from your opponent and then to deliever that killer pass to score a goal. Tiki taka is all about passing and moving without the ball and making the game very simple. And then, surprise them with the final goal scoring killer pass in behind the defense.

The killer pass is a through ball in behind a defender or a cross that cuts out defenders, just as the other team is lulled to sleep and worn out from chasing the ball all around the pitch all game long. Or, some players can get so frustrated chasing Barcelona around on the pitch that they erupt in anger, as Cristiano Ronaldo has many times when he has had to chase Barcelona players around the pitch while playing against them for Real Madrid.

If you're looking to coach your team in the Barcelona tiki taka style of play it's starts with getting your players comfortable on the ball and getting them to keep the ball even when they're under pressure. So, you're trying to develop soccer players who aren't booting the ball away as defenders but trying to build out of the back - even near your own goal. This means each player should have support on either side and then in the back and in front. This requires soccer players who are in shape and work to get open and help one another out.

And this is the way the game of soccer (football) is supposed to be played. The style of play that both Barcelona and Spain play like nobody else in the world, perhaps even better than Brazil. This tiki taka style of play has enabled Barcelona to win numerous La Liga trophies and the Champions League. And then Spain of course just won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.



Barcelona make the tiki taka style of play look easy, but it's really not. It requires that all the players on the team have the same understanding of the game, are on the same page, and always moving for one another off the ball to give support.

It also requires that every player has exceptional touch on the ball - which only comes with years of practice and playing. If the players don't have the touch and control, then they can't make those short passes, usually with just one touch, and pull off those quick give and goes to escape from pressure and find space.

Of course it also helps if you have very skillful players, like Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, and so on. And it's not just the attacking players who are skillfull, it's every single player, from Pique and Puyol in the back all the way up to the forward line. No player is afraid to keep the ball at their feet when under pressure.

And here's another video of Barcelona setting up those little triangles and making those clever passes as they slice and dice through opposing teams, this time the victim is none other than their arch enemy, Real Madrid.

 

In case you missed it, see the Barcelona story on 60 Minutes: Watch the Barcelona story on 60 Minutes.

Extra: What's the best soccer drill to use to master the Tiki Taka style? The ideal soccer drill to work on to master the Tiki Taka style of play is a possession game in a small square. You can begin with playing in a larger square if your team is just starting out but slowly reduce the size of the square as they improve. The smaller the square or area your team is playing in the more difficult it is to maintain possession of the ball.

Also, you can add more or fewer defenders depending upon your team’s skill level. You can even just have the defenders go easy at the start, say 60%, and then slowly let them build up to 100%.

See how many passes your team can string together before a defender touches the ball. Get your players to play one and two touch soccer. Focus on getting your players to use their bodies to shield the ball and play the way they are facing. Again, Barcelona's possession game is just like playing "piggy in the middle".

 



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