Improving Interplay Of Midfield Players

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The communication and interplay of players is crucial for team success; do your players understand each other, can they read the cues from their teammates, do they make quick decisions under pressure because they know exactly what their teammate(s) will do?

These are things that all coaches want from their players and is a vital component of coaching – to get individuals to play fluidly together.

The following session is designed to improve the communication + inter-play of Central Midfield players; this particular setup utilizes 3 central players.

The warmup / passing activity encourages appropriate communication and rehearses the movements under progressive pressure. Activities progress to a 3v3+2+2 possession game and a Tactical activity including a Back-4 building through the Central Midfield area.

**Not shown in Diagram: Final Activity is an 11v11 game

1. PASSING ROTATION WITH CENTRAL COMBINATIONS:

Setup:

Squad is split into 2 groups and positioned as shown: 2 Players(B+D) in the central area. 2-3 Players are positioned at the perimeter cones (A,E,F,C).

IMPROVING INTERPLAY OF MIDFIELD PLAYERS | SoccerSpecific

Instructions:

Sequence: Play begins with a pass from Player A to B; B to C; C to D; D layoff short to B; B pass into the path of A; A switch the ball diagonally to Player F to repeat the sequence in the opposite direction.
One-touch passing should be used if possible.

Emphasis on the Communication / Combinations between the central players – angles / timing / direction / speed of movements.

4x2min: change Central Players each 2 minutes

Coaching Points:

  • Central Players: Distances / Angles to receive passes and support teammates
  • Inter-play between central D + B – game realistic; check to, check away, spin underneath to receive passes
  • All players should use checking / opposite movements before moving to receive passes
  • Timing of forward run by Player A – delay and arrive late
  • Quality execution of passes

2. PASSING ROTATION WITH CENTRAL COMBINATIONS:

Setup:

Squad is split into 2 groups and positioned as shown: 3 Players in the central area with one Defender (green). 2-3 Players are positioned at the perimeter cones (A,E,F,C).

IMPROVING INTERPLAY OF MIDFIELD PLAYERS | SoccerSpecific
Diagram B

Instructions:

Progression:

3 Central Players with 1 semi-passive Defender.

*Defender not to tackle – only to intercept passes.

One-touch passing should be used if possible. Emphasis on the Communication / Combinations between the central players – angles / timing / direction / speed of movements.

2x2min: change Central Players each 2 minutes

Coaching Points:

  • Central Players: Distances / Angles to receive passes and support teammates
  • Inter-play between central players – game realistic; check to, check away, spin underneath to receive passes
  • All players should use checking / opposite movements before moving to receive passes
  • Quality execution of passes

3. POSSESSION – 3v3+2+ (7v3): CENTRAL MIDFIELD COMBINATION PLAY:

Setup:

Approx. 35m x 25m, positioned in ‘game realistic’ area of the pitch. Two groups of 3 outfield players + 2 Support/Target players. Red team consists of the midfield players #6-8 and #10.

#4 and #9 are neutral players (Striker + Central Defender) + positioned on each end-line. Wide Midfield players (Green) positioned on the side of the playing area.

IMPROVING INTERPLAY OF MIDFIELD PLAYERS | SoccerSpecific
Diagram C

Instructions:

Player #4 starts the game for Red who must attempt to keep possession and pass the ball to #9 on the opposite end of the grid.

I successful, #9 must pass the ball back across the grid to #4, for play to continue.
If Defending team (Black) wins possession, they must try to pass to #9 who restarts the game with Black in possession and Red defending.

Perimeter players cannot pass to each other; emphasis is on the Central 3 Players combining / maintaining possession while looking for opportunities to play to #9.

1 ‘goal’ is awarded for every completed sequence.

Play is continuous:  3-4 x 2 min

Coaching Points:

  • Interplay between central 3 players – rotations, angles + distances of support to create passing options as well as space for teammates
  • Decision-making: when to play 1-touch / 2-touch – ability to play in front quickly
  • Moving into spaces behind opponents

4. CENTRAL MIDFIELD PLAY – INTERPLAY OF CENTRAL 3:

Setup:

35m x 25m central area; A Back-4 + GK is organised for the Buildup team (Red) plus one Striker for Defensive team (S). 3v3 in Central area + Striker #9 for Red. Two Neutral (Green) wide players to play for the team in possession.

IMPROVING INTERPLAY OF MIDFIELD PLAYERS | SoccerSpecific
Diagram D

Instructions:

Play begins with a pass from the GK to any of the Back-4 (#2,3,4,5); they combine amongst each other until the opportunity arises to pass to one of the midfielders in the Central Grid (shaded).
The midfielders try to pass into one of the two small goals, using #9 as a ‘Target’ player.
They can maintain possession through the use of the Neutral (Green) but the Neutral players cannot pass to the Target #9.

If the Defensive team wins the ball, they try to Counter attack – Striker, 1 player from central area + 2 Neutral Players can take part in Counter-Attack.
Play starts with GK each time.

Coaching Points:

  • Back-4 – isolate the lone Striker then look to play forward at earliest opportunity – no long passing sequences if possible
  • Interplay between central 3 players – rotations, angles + distances of support to create passing options as well as space for teammates
  • Decision-making: when to play 1-touch / 2-touch – ability to play in front quickly
  • Moving into spaces behind opponents