Midfielder Training Ideas

As the calendar turns to November, the playoff season is upon us.  I’m sure many of you are either winding down your seasons or progressing your way through the playoffs.  Here at F&M we are gearing up for our conference playoff with the hopes of advancing to our fifth straight NCAA National Tournament.  Riding a 6-game unbeaten streak, we enter the playoffs as the #2 seed in the conference and begin this Friday with an 8:00 PM match against Gettysburg College.  A live link to the game can be found by clicking here.

I also wanted to take some time to share some more training ideas we have implemented this season. My last email discussed some training ideas for forwards.  This email will focus on how we have trained our midfielders, but I also believe it can be used for all field players. The details of the training progression is below:

Focus:

  • Training midfielders to free themselves and find proper angles to get on the ball and switch directions

Set-Up:

  • 4 cones (2 blue and 2 red) forming a diamond.
  • The 2 blue cones are 20 yards apart and the 2 red cones are 10 yards apart
  • 1 player on each cone (4 total players).
  • You will need to replicate this set-up to accommodate for each additional group of 4.

Progression:

  Basic:

  • A player on a blue cone has the ball and plays it to a player on a red cone.  He then accelerates to get “under” that player and receives the ball back.
  • After receiving the ball back, he needs to receive it across his body and play it to the player on the other red cone and accelerate to get “under” that player and receive the ball back.
  • This player repeats this back and forth for 4 to 5 passes and then passes across to the player on the other blue cone who does the same thing
  • The focus in this stage is for players to find vertical passes and receive the ball back to switch the point of attack.

Backing Out:

  • Same as Stage 1, but after getting “under” the player, the player on the blue cone backs out and takes a wide angle toward the other red cone.
  • The focus in this stage is for players to find vertical passes, drive forward and then quickly back out to create space between them and a defender to switch the field.

Backing Out and Shielding:

  • Same as Stage 2 but after backing out, the player needs to turn their back to shield the ball before switching to the other red cone.
  • The focus in this stage is for players to find vertical passes, drive forward and then quickly back out to create space between them and a defender, but this time assuming the defender followed them and therefore need to shield the ball to switch the field.

Competitive Stage:

  • We like all drills to be competitive, so this last stage does just that.
  • The “off” player on the blue cone becomes the defender and the player now has all of the options to try to switch the ball between the red cones.
  • Each time he can complete a pass to a red cone and receive it back, he earns a point.
  • After one minute, offensive and defensive players switch.