EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

The slick midfield trio

Developing your team’s ability to use three players in midfield will reap great benefits. The games in this session develop attacking combination play, defensive teamwork and the positioning of your midfielders.

What this session is about

  1.  Playing with three midfielders.
  2.  Combining to create chances.
  3.  Movement and rotation to receive.

What to think about

In 11v11 football, a common tactic is for teams to use one central striker and two wide attackers. This tactic leads to teams using 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formations. These formations require a three-player midfield with either two holding midfielders and one attacking player, or one holding midfielder and two attacking players. So by coaching your players how to play through midfield and how to position themselves, you will help the team develop.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Mark out an area with two target goals on one side and one target goal opposite.

Use two teams of three players and three neutrals on the outside of the pitch.

Teams must score with a first-time shot but before scoring, they must pass to a neutral player and receive a return pass.

One team aims to score in the two goals on one side and the other team tries to score in the opposite goal.

The neutral team then switch roles with one of the teams on the pitch.

Teams try to score using quick passing, returns from neutral players and first-time shots.

Teams try to score using quick passing, returns from neutral players and first-time shots.


Development

To develop this further, add another goal and you, or an assistant, join the neutral players, as shown in the middle picture.

The aim is for teams inside the pitch to score with a first-time shot in one of the opponent’s goals.

Teams must pass to a neutral player before being allowed to shoot at goal.

You can also decide how many passes they must make and how many passes must be made to neutral players before a shot is taken.

Rotate one of the teams with the outside neutrals.

Add an assistant to increase the number of passing options available for teams to use.

Add an assistant to increase the number of passing options available for teams to use.


Game situation

Mark out an area and split it into three equal zones, as shown in the bottom picture.

Use two teams. Each team lines up with a keeper and two defenders in the defensive zone, three midfielders in the middle zone and one striker in the attacking zone.

The aim is for the keeper and two defenders to play the ball out of defence in a 3v1 situation.

Now one of the defenders can break into midfield in order to combine with the three midfielders in a 4v3 situation.

The aim is to now free one midfielder to join the striker in the attacking zone to score in a 2v2.

In this game, the chance to score often comes when a team loses possession and a counter attack is quickly launched by the opposition. The team that scores most goals wins.

Teams in possession can take advantage of overload situations.

Teams in possession can take advantage of overload situations.


What to call out

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