EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Man in the middle

The scoring threat often comes from balls played into a central attacker, who must decide whether to turn the defender, hold up the ball or lay off a pass. Here, the central attacker has to make the decision to create a scoring chance.

Set up

Set up a 40×15-yard area with a five-yard zone across the centre of the pitch. Put a normal-sized goal at one end and one of three mini goals at the other end, with the remaining goals either side of the centre zone. We’ve used seven players.

How to play

One team attacks the main goal, with two midfielders in the zone furthest from the goal and one attacker in the attacking zone. The opposition have a keeper and a defender in the attacking zone and two midfielders in the centre. Players must stay in their zones until the forward in the attacking zone gets the ball – then one of the other players can join the attack. If the opposition wins the ball and counterattacks, all players can move anywhere. They score in the mini goals.

Technique

The narrow pitch cuts off the wings and works the central attacker hard in 1v1s, 2v1s and 2v2s. All players are made aware of the crucial link up between midfield and attack.

midfield attackers

    1. The game starts with the two midfielders in the end zone who must find a pass through to the attacker
    2. The attacker must move around and read where the ball is going to go to make the pass easier

Shoot from long range

    3. Once the ball has reached the attacker, one of the midfielders is released from the end zone to support him
    4. A defender can also move into the attacking end zone to go 2v2 with the attacking pair

Score from midfield

    5. If the opposition intercept the ball all players are released for the counterattack and they can score in any of the three goals
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