INSPIRED, CONFIDENT & EFFECTIVE COACHING

The middle men

Central midfielders are key to the development of all matches. Help your “middle men” influence the game by improving their movement and their ability to gain possession of the ball.

What this session is about

  1.  Improving central midfielders.
  2.  Playing through midfield.
  3.  Quick combination play in central areas.

What to think about

  •  In possession, your central midfielders need to get on to the ball and instigate attacks.
  •  The two midfielders must always be on the move, to create space to receive the ball.
  •  Quick combination play in the centre of the pitch will pull the opponent towards the ball. This will create space in wider areas for the team to exploit. Players on the outside of the central area must also be on the move and adjust their position in relation to the ball, ready to receive it.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
15 minutes10 minutes15 minutes10 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Set up a 20-yard square with a 15-yard square inside it. Use two teams, one inside the small square and the other team in the outer area, as in the top picture.

Add two players inside the small square who will be the “middle men”. The team on the outside uses the middle men to create a 6v4 overload.

The outside team passes the ball to each other through the small square, trying to keep it away from the opposition. Only the middle men can be in the small square for the passing team.

If the team inside the small square wins possession, the player winning the ball dribbles the ball to the outer area. While this happens, the teams rotate positions, i.e. the team that lost possession goes into the small square. The game then continues with the team in the outer area having possession and the middle men playing on their side in a 6v4 overload.

The team on the outside passes to the middle men, aiming to keep possession away from the team in the small square.

The team on the outside passes to the middle men, aiming to keep possession away from the team in the small square.


Development

Play a five-a-side game and add two middle men, split the playing area into three zones, as in the middle picture. Each team puts one player into its defensive zone, while the other players go inside the central zone with the two middle men.

The aim of this game is for each team to pass the ball from its defender, through the middle zone and release one player from the central zone to dribble 1v1 against the opposition defender and score.

The team in possession of the ball can use the two middle men to create the attack. If the ball is intercepted, the middle men change allegiance to the other team.

Defenders cannot pass directly into the attacking area.

Each team passes from the back, through the central area, using the middle men if required, to release an attacker for a 1v1.

Each team passes from the back, through the central area, using the middle men if required, to release an attacker for a 1v1.


Game situation

Two teams play a five-a-side game, set up as in the bottom picture.

The team in possession can use two middle men to create an overload, keep possession of the ball, and combine to score a goal. It also gives the middle men more opportunities to make space, keep moving and be more creative – the keys to winning matches.

In a small-sided game the middle men play for the team in possession, creating a 6v4 overload for example.

In a small-sided game the middle men play for the team in possession, creating a 6v4 overload for example.


What to call out

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