Barcelona’s Six Second Rule

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Barcelona Six Second Rule
The Barcelona six second rule: What’s the Barcelona six second rule? No, this isn’t like the three second rule, where you can still eat something off the ground if you pick it up quick enough. But yet, in a way, it is, because it’s all about reacting quickly on the soccer field and winning the ball right away. It’s about pressing your opponent in their end of the field when you lose the ball. It’s about reacting right away and not give the other team any space or time to think.

But you might even argue that Barcelona press the opposition faster than six seconds. Much faster, maybe in one or two seconds. If they see a defender put his head down or with his back turned, Barcelona swarm and charge at the opposing player and pressure them immediately. There’s no hesitation. And that’s what separates Barcelona from other football teams. The timing of their press. What’s more it’s done as a team – everyone on the same page of trying to win the ball back.

After Barcelona loses possession of the ball, which they don’t do often, the whole team fights to win the ball back in six seconds. Once they lose the soccer ball they don’t drop back or concede space to the other team. No, they all press towards the soccer ball and try to win the ball back as soon as possible. They don’t let the other team get comfortable and start to build an attack.

Related to this, is one of their secrets to success – pressing the ball when any member of the opposing team turns their back when they have possession of the ball. Watch how even Messi fights to win the ball back in the attacking third, if he actually loses the ball, rather than letting the other team move up the field and towards Barcelona’s goal.

The key though to Barcelona’s pressing defense is working as a team, everyone is ready to react and try to win the ball. The pressing is immediate and unrelenting. Nobody gives up. Everyone fights for each other. It’s also about reading the play and predicting where the other team will try to play the ball.

So while Barcelona does press and crowd the other team when they’re trying to bring the ball out, it’s about the players just behind the pressing players who need to read the play and win the ball or intercept it. The pressing players are trying to force the other team to make a bad pass and the Barcelona players behind them are trying to read that play. You often see Sergio Busquets, Rakitic, and Pique win balls as the other team tries to send a longer ball down field to escape pressure.

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