Midfield Maestro

SoccerSpecific

Midfield Maestro works on the functional capabilities of the central midfielders in possession. Focusing on the positional, technical and physical qualities of the #6, #8 and #10, the exercises in this practice pinpoint the functional skills needed to play in central midfield. After giving ideas in an unopposed setting, the exercise develops into challenging the players with situational exercises to test their game understanding and technical and tactical application.

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Midfield Maestro

1.

Setup:

Midfield Maestro passing pattern- Functional pattern with 5 players working together at a time. Four mannequins set out on the field to represent the opposition #10, #8 and #4 and #5. Mini goals set in wide areas to represent wingers. 50y x full width.

Midfield Maestro | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

Balls start with the center back with a square pass;

  1. A peels off behind mannequin to play to B, who peels off behind mannequin, to play to C who receives and scores in the mini goals.
  2. Center back plays to A, who turns and plays high to C who checks back to lay the ball off to B who plays the ball out wide (up back and through)- shown in diagram 2.

Coaching Points:

  • Timing and quality of movement- move while the ball is moving, attempt to receive behind the line of pressure
  • Quality and weight of pass- play to the back foot in order for the receiver to go forward
  • 1st touch- take a touch which prepares them for their second touch

2.

Setup:

Midfield Maestro passing pattern- Functional pattern with 5 players working together at a time. Four mannequins set out on the field to represent the opposition #10, #8 and #4 and #5. Mini goals set in wide areas to represent wingers. 50y x full width.

Midfield Maestro | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

Balls start with the center back with a square pass;

  1. A peels off behind mannequin to play to B, who peels off behind mannequin, to play to C who receives and scores in the mini goals.
  2. Center back plays to A, who turns and plays high to C who checks back to lay the ball off to B who plays the ball out wide (up back and through)- shown in diagram 2.

Coaching Points:

  • Timing and quality of movement- move while the ball is moving, attempt to receive behind the line of pressure
  • Quality and weight of pass- play to the back foot in order for the receiver to go forward
  • 1st touch- take a touch which prepares them for their second touch

3.

Setup:

Midfield Maestro passing pattern with pressure- Two passive defenders added to the exercise. Mannequins stay as they are and mini goals still set in wide areas to represent wingers. 50y x full width.

Midfield Maestro | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

Balls start with the center back with a square pass;

Now, the midfielders must move based on the midfield pressure. For example as the diagram shows, if being man marked, the #8 and #6 interchange positions with the #10 receiving the ball high to find the #6 free in space. Multiple scenarios can be explored; for e.g. zonal marking, man marking etc.

Coaching Points:

  • Timing and quality of movement- move while the ball is moving, attempt to receive behind the line of pressure
  • Quality and weight of pass- play to the back foot in order for the receiver to go forward
  • 1st touch- take a touch which prepares them for their second touch

4.

Setup:

3 v 3 + 4 to small goals; 40 x 30 yards. 3 mins set: 1.5 min rest between sets x 4 games= 20 mins.

Midfield Maestro | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

3 v 3 in the middle area. with 2 neutral players at each end. Play starts from one end, with one team attacking one end and other team playing the other. Teams play a 2 v 2 and can use each end team to score.

Coaching Points:

  • Technical quality- first touch move, back foot to receive, penetrate when possible
  • Pre movements to receive- checking away and towards, towards and then in behind
  • Collective understanding- work with each other, never in a straight line vertically/ horizontally

5.

Setup:

Midfield maestro small sided game. Play is open throughout the field (top of the 18 to the opposite side 18 yard box) with a coned off area (shaded in the diagram) to give the central midfielders a reference (30W x 40L). 8 min sets x 3 sets.

Midfield Maestro | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

Both teams play in a 4-3-1, with a back four, 3 CM’s and one striker. Play starts at each end with the center backs playing in. The team attempts to advance to the mini goals to score. Normal rules.

Coaching Points:

  • Speed of play and circulation- technical quality and precision of passes to create passing lanes to penetrate
  • Quality and precision of movement- 3 MFs will need to work together to create space. They will also need to know when to maintain possession by playing back to the center backs. Double movements by outside backs are also important to gain an advantage against their direct opponent.
  • Attacking to defensive transition- an immediate group action to losing possession in order to regain possession and limit penetration