INSPIRATION | CONFIDENCE | SUCCESS

The midfield screen

The midfield screen is a defensive line, shielding defenders from penetrating through balls and 1v1 situations. Use this session to get your midfield working as a unit to give the defenders behind them some protection.

What this session is about

  1. Defending as a unit to deny penetration
  2. Making play predictable
  3. Taking up good defensive positions.

What to think about

  • The nearest defender puts pressure on the ball.
  • Covering defender/s should be positioned at an angle and goal side of the first defender.
  • Third and fourth defenders add depth.
  • The general shape. If the ball is central, form a triangle pointing towards the ball. If the ball is wide, form an angled line back from the ball.
  • Provide clear communication.

Set-up

Three teams of four using a 40 yards by 20 yards playing area.

For the game, you can use cones for goals and set up two pitches to accommodate more players if necessary.

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes15 minutes5 minutes

What you get your players to do

Team “A” has a maximum of five passes to get the ball to team “B”, who repeats. Every time each team is successful, they get a point.

Team “C” wins a point for intercepting the ball or if the other teams reach their maximum number of passes.

All passes must be below head height and each player is allowed a maximum of three touches per sequence.

Once one team wins five points, the teams rotate.

Team “A” players have up to five passes before having to pass to team “B”. Team “C” players move to intercept.

Team “A” players have up to five passes before having to pass to team “B”. Team “C” players move to intercept.


Development

This time, if team “A” reaches its fourth pass, the player in possession can dribble into the playing area to find space to make a pass.

To increase the difficulty for the midfield screen raise the number of passes the teams can make, or the number of touches each player can have.

Team “A” players can dribble into the playing area after making four passes. But now they risk being tackled.

Team “A” players can dribble into the playing area after making four passes. But now they risk being tackled.


Game situation

Play 3v3 on a 30 yards by 30 yards pitch. Place three small goals across both end lines. The attackers must find space to receive a pass before shooting at goal. The defenders must work as a team to close down the ball carrier and try to cut off the pass or block the shot.

When a goal is scored or the ball goes out of play, the teams swap roles.

The defenders work hard to close down the ball carrier before he passes for a team mate to shoot.

The defenders work hard to close down the ball carrier before he passes for a team mate to shoot.


What to call out

  • “Nearest player presses the ball carrier”
  • “Keep compact”
  • “Stop the ball being played forward”
  • “Make sure you’re never in a “flat” line across the playing area”
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