Unlock the 8 & 10


This activity will provide your players plenty of repetition working on playing through the midfield and unlocking the #8 and #10 specifically. Encourage developing a nice rhythm of play building out of the back and then finding the right moment to play a crisp penetrating ball on the ground to your midfielders feet. Adjust the system of play to fit your needs, add a third defender to make it a 5V3 rondo and lastly reward the green team by having the team finish on goal.

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Unlock the 8 & 10


The red and green team are playing out of a 4-3-3 as shown with the numbering system. Place a five yard channel in the middle of a 40X50 playing area with two mannequins.


The buildup starts from the GK who plays a ball to any of his back four or defensive central midfielder #6. The reds keep possession from the two yellow players pressing the ball. The objective is develop a comfortable speed of play and find the right moment to play a penetrating ball (shown in red) on the ground to #8 central midfielder or the #10 attacking midfielder. Once the midfield has been unlocked, two of the yellows from the middle channel must turn and press the ball and win possession from the green players in the attacking half. When the ball is won by the defending team or the ball goes out of bounds, a new ball is started from the GK. Play for a designated time and then switch the five defenders and perhaps the roles of your players within the system of play.

Coaching Points:

The main emphasis is to play between the two mannequins into the central midfielders #8 & #10, the secondary option is to play up the channels from the outside backs to the #7 & #11. During the initial 5V2 rondo it is crucial that the red players scan off the ball to recognize the moment to utilize the #6 in order to find the #8 & #10’s feet and recognize the timing of their runs. Progressions include adding a third defender in the rondo and allowing the green team to finish the sequence to goal.