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Ask your players “what makes a midfielder?”

At the moment the area I live in is in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic so I’m having to give my coaching lessons online. But there are some good things that I can do. One of the things I find really useful is to engage my players on a Zoom call and get them to list the attributes they think players need in certain positions.

My latest one will be how should a midfielder play to block movement through midfield and to win the ball back – list what a player should do and what should they do when they win the ball. You can make this easier by giving them clues of what you want to hear or give them A, B or C options.

It is never ideal not to be able to get out on the pitch with your players but I know some countries are not in lockdown so you can use the sessions below to help with understanding of the role. Of course coaches that are in lockdown can use the sessions once lockdown has lifted and play the drills with the players who will have some idea of how to do it after the Zoom session.

So you can do this for midfielders, defenders – what does a wingback do? Attackers, wingers and goalkeepers. Get your players analysing every position on the pitch.

Here are my ideas of what a defensive midfielder should do.

It is identified as a role that protects the defence which is very important in youth soccer when defenders are often pulled out of position leaving holes at the back. Winning the ball in the midfield stops the opposition attack exploiting those holes.

Jobs of a defensive midfieder

> Try and mark opponents ball side and goal side
> Be close enough to press opponents when they are receiving
> Recognise when to mark the player and when to cover space
> Be positioned to intercept
> Know when (and when not) to try and intercept
> Play quickly when regaining possession
> On winning the ball, try to counterattack with a pass or a run

Use these sessions to help you coach a defensive midfielder:

Steal the ball is all about positioning in this lively intercepting game aimed at teaching your players how to nick the ball back from the other team while it’s still in midfield.

If you want your players to understand the role of a midfield power house, try The enforcer. It’s a challenging game to teach them how to win back possession.

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