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Working on the holding midfield player

Set up……..


Technical warm up

Area – Set up as shown. The area is suitable for your age group. Run the exercise with about 10 players. You may have to run two stations if you have more players.

1. The ball starts with player (6)

2. 6 passes to 8 who opens up their body and passes to 2. With an open body shape 2 controls the ball and passes to 9 who drops the ball back to 10 who then passes to 3. Player 3 dribbles to the start.

3. After passing players follow their pass.


Go the other direction.

Use different passing patterns:

6-2, 2-8, 8-9, 9-10, 10-3.

6-8, 8-10, 10-2, 2-9, 9-3.


You can also play this technical exercise to a goal. If the ball is played out wide then that wide player can cross the ball for #9, 10, 8 and opposite wide player to attack the goal.

Coaching points:

Receive the ball on the back foot with an open body stance.

Quality first touch.

Movement, enthusiasm, team work, awareness and communication.


Set up……..


Functional session.

This session is position specific to a 4-2-3-1 formation. In the exercise shown you can play with a 2-3-1 or you can include the full backs. The center backs are not used but they can be used later to defend the attacks. Functional practice sessions enable the players to vision what an attack would look like in this formation. This will later enable the players to use their own combinations in game situations. 

Practices like this one must be repeated often to get the full benefits and the understanding can be refined over time.


1. The players are numbered related to their position on the field.

2. Passing combination shown:

6 to 8. 8 to 9. 9 lays the ball off to 10. 10 plays the ball wide to 7. 7 crosses the ball.

3. Attacking the penalty area are:

After laying the ball off to 10, player 9 spins and arcs their run to the front post.

10 and 11 attack the area and 8 stays just outside the 18 yard area.

2 and 3 position themselves on the corners of the area.



Use the full backs to cross the balls and have 7 and 11 attacking the penalty area.

Go the other direction.

Use different passing patterns:

6 to 8. 8 to 7. 7 passes to overlapping 2. 2 crosses the ball.


You can rotate players or leave them in one position.

Coaching points:

One and two touch play

It has to be realistic.

Timing of passing and movement.


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