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How to coach a midfielder in tactics and techniques

It is difficult to sit down before a coaching session and think about the individuals you coach and their position in your team. Coaching individual positions is often difficult due to the constraints of training sessions. What would be ideal is to get players alone and go through the important tactical and technical situations that occur during a match.

I like to coach all my players in the art of midfield play – focusing this week on attacking play. It is such an important position in the development of youth players because it is a central position to everything that is going on in the game – unless of course you play the long ball and bypass the midfield!

An attacking midfielder sets up so many goalscoring chances that it cannot be ignored in your coaching sessions. Once the midfielder wins the ball there are a number of important things to do that go through a players mind in a split second. Can I secure the ball? Can I pass into the striker? Can I play the ball wide and find space?

My list of attributes for an attacking midfielder would be:

  • Dictates play from behind the striker
  • Creates goalscoring chances
  • Has great technique
  • Shoots when the chance comes
  • Shows creativity

If you want to create an attacking midfielder for your team use the sessions below:

One of my favourite sessions to use in midfield to really show my central players that they can drive down the middle of the pitch and really put pressure on central defenders. Corridor of power helps develop players who can control the ball in tight areas, can pass accurately over short or long distances and can create space to make a killer pass to score a point.

To create the best attacking midfield you also need players who can think about when and where to play the ball. Quick in transition develops players who can set up attacks by reacting quickly to moments of transition in a game, principally moving from defence to attack.

Midfield has a lot of individual work for youth players – pressing to win the ball, dribbling or using a skill to drive past players. Moving the ball forwards is key to this. Midfield surge is all about beating players and getting past stubborn defenders. It also puts the pressure on the defenders to keep hold of the ball and encourages midfield/attackers to win it and score.

Finally, the best midfield needs players who are not afraid to shoot at the goal when the opportunity arises. A great drive into the box with a shot at the end is a fantastic skill to have in any team. Score and react is as the name suggests about scoring and reacting, beating a keeper or getting past a defender.

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