If your players, rather than get hurt, turn their backs on the ball when they’re pressing in midfield take a look at this recovery game. I use recovery sessions where players must watch their own position and that of their team mates in getting back behind the ball to block it.
This takes their minds off the original problem of getting hit by the ball and turns the focus on getting back and blocking. I find players carry this into a game and focus more on where the player and the ball are going rather than getting out of the way of the ball.
Focus is vital so they shouldn’t turn their backs on the ball.
1. Use half your normal pitch coned off along the edge of the penalty area. Use normal goals, with one on the halfway line and with a keeper in each goal.
2. Play a 3v3 (plus keepers). The defending team starts with a player next to the opposition’s goal. He is the recovering player, leaving 3v2 on the pitch.
3. The attacking team (with three players on the pitch) starts the game with a pass out from the keeper. This is the signal for the recovering player to move.
4. The two defenders must back off from the attackers, covering the central areas of the attacking zone in front of goal. With the defenders backing off, it makes it difficult for the attackers to penetrate through the central area and forces them wide.
5. The recovering defender must decide whether to cover space behind the defenders or, as here, to track runners moving to receive a pass.