The Midfield area can be congested with many players from the opposition; this restricts your players’ space + time on the ball. This session progresses through the use of Possession oriented activities – in each activity the pressure and demand within the Midfield Area is increased.
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This session includes progressive activities that emphasize the concepts of maintaining possession in various areas of the pitch and creating advantages (overloads) in certain areas in order to advance the ball up the pitch. The overall theme is to teach players the benefits of creating overloads – the why, how, when.
Here is an excellent session from Stuart Sharp, Head Coach of the U.S. Paralympic Men’s Soccer Team, that focuses on the shadow striker. The shadow striker can be one of the two strikers in a twin striker set up, or it can be the #10 attacking midfielder that often finds himself making penetrating runs into the opponents back line.
It is vital that players learn to create and exploit passing channels if they are to be effective; especially in congested and compact areas of the pitch. Players must develop an understanding of the key spaces to exploit: Between-the-lines of the opponent, away from the opponent, in-front of opponent etc. Players must also understand and rehearse the correct Positioning, Moment / Timing, Direction and Speed of movements to be most effective.
Building through Midfield areas requires effective communication, decision-making and a high level of technical execution; this central area of the pitch is usually congested with many players resulting in restricted space / time. Players must learn to operate under these conditions of restricted space/time if they are to be successful both at the individual and team level.
The following session teaches the concept of ‘Recognising Advantages’. Players must understand that if one area of the pitch is congested / blocked with a superior number of opponents then an ‘advantage’ must be available elsewhere.