An Introduction to Tiki-Taka Soccer (Barcelona’s Style of Play)

FC Barcelona is a world-class organization that dominates their opponents by first controlling possession then making calculated passes to launch their attack. It is not unusual for Barcelona to keep the ball for minutes on end, sometimes making dozens of passes before attempting any sort of attacking ball movements.

Using support and structure, they can draw in defenders and move the ball away from pressure instantly before counterattacking quickly when the opportunity arises.

This style of play that Barcelona and other Spanish teams use has come to be known as Tiki-Taka, which loosely translates to “touch-touch” and refers to the rapid, precise passing style that allows teams to maintain possession for large portions of the match.

In this post, we’ll give a brief introduction to Tiki-Taka and how to play it so that you can begin to develop the skills needed to dominate play at elite levels using this advanced style of play.

Keeping Possession


The initial objective of Tiki-Taka is to maintain possession of the ball until an attacking opportunity presents itself. When done right, a team can move the ball quickly out of pressure using one-touch or two-touch passing, moving the ball into space where they can gather and reassess the defense.

A key to this style of play that Barcelona has mastered is regathering the ball quickly when possession is lost. By fighting to regain possession as quickly as possible, teams can prevent the opponent from getting any attacking momentum and further wear them down by forcing them to chase the ball on defense for extended periods of time.

Playing with a Purpose

While keeping possession is critical for success, players should continue to play with an attacking mentality. As defenders get sucked further up-field as they try to win back possession, players must look for opportunities to counterattack and utilize numbers advantages.

After holding the ball for some time, defenders often overcommit to winning back the ball or get complacent and lazy in their positioning. When this happens, a quick and precise through-ball can lead to quality scoring opportunities and huge overloads in attacking numbers.

Coaching the Tiki-Taka Style

When coaching the Tiki-Taka style, at youth levels especially, there are a few key points to keep in mind. While possession is the name of the game, your team should look to maintain field position and not simply drop the ball back to the defenders and goalie when pressure comes. Coaches should also help players recognize when they have the attacking advantage so they can counterattack effectively because the whole reason for keeping possession is to use it when the chance strikes.

Skills to develop:
  • Quality first touch
  • Moving off the ball
  • Pass and move
  • Precision through balls
Habits to break or avoid:
  • Booting ball away on defense (build from the back)
  • Standing still off the ball
  • Working backward to keep possession

At Total Soccer, our trainers understand the ins and outs of the Tiki-Taka style of play. During our C.O.R.E. sessions, we can help your players learn and develop the skills they need to be effective, and at our team camps, we can help your side learn to utilize this style.

Sign up for one of our training camps today or give us a call to discuss training options at Total Soccer for your team.