EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Midfielder/forward combinations

Midfield players have a variety of jobs to do during a match. One of these is getting forward to exchange passes with the forwards and create goalscoring opportunities.

What this session is about

  1. Combination play in the attacking third of the pitch.
  2. Passing and movement.

What to think about

Encourage your players to use combination play and create chances to score. For example, try overlaps, one-twos, third-man running and decoy runs.

Good movement, close control and quick, accurate, passing are all important in this drill.

Set-up

  • Use half a pitch, including a penalty box and a goal.
  • Have three attackers v two defenders, plus a goalkeeper.
Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10-15 minutes15-20 minutes15-20 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

The drill begins with 2v2 on the edge of the penalty area. A third attacker, the midfielder, is on the half way line. This player starts the drill by passing to their deepest lying team mate before sprinting forward to provide back-up or wide support.

The objective for the attackers is to combine and create a goalscoring opportunity either centrally or from a cross. The defenders cannot tackle to begin with, but can play offside.

Any attacking player can move to provide width to cross into the penalty box, but must do so with their first or second touch.

Rotate the roles within each team and also swap attackers and defenders.

The midfielder passes the ball into the deepest attacking player and joins in the attack.

The midfielder passes the ball into the deepest attacking player and joins in the attack.


Development

  • Allow the defenders to tackle.
  • Have one-touch crossing only.
  • Introduce a third defender who makes a recovery run from the half way line once the attacking team has had, say, three touches.
Between them, the attackers move the ball, creating space and time for a cross into the penalty box.

Between them, the attackers move the ball, creating space and time for a cross into the penalty box.


Game situation

Play a 6v6 match with goalkeepers but condition both teams to play a 2-1-2 formation. Encourage the midfield player on both sides to join the attackers at every opportunity.

Anticipating the midfielder’s cross, the other attackers move into the penalty box and are prepared to shoot.

Anticipating the midfielder’s cross, the other attackers move into the penalty box and are prepared to shoot.


What to call out

  • “Can you shake off your marker?”
  • “Think about where you want to go with your first touch”
  • “Attack the space”
  • “Always have ‘a picture’ of what’s going on around you”
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