The midfield role at every level is critical. At the high school level there are often 1-2 central midfielders and 2 outside “wing” midfielders. Each midfielder will have a specific role in defense and on attack in their coach’s system but ALL midfielders should be able to play ALL positions. This will open more scoring opportunities, improve team defense, and allow players to move in and out of positions to confuse the opponent.
At the higher levels, “overlapping” runs will be done with BOTH attacking defenders and strikers who should also be able to understand their roles when a teams “shape” is contorted due to pressure or to expose a counter-attack opportunity.

BELOW:This drill is great to develop midfielders, particularly center midfielders. Being comfortable hitting full paced passes and collecting, turning, and then moving to new space while teammates fill a new void is essential to gaining and holding possession throughout a match. This drill can be modified in several ways to fit the needs of a team.

BELOW: Another great drill for midfielders (and defenders) to work on developing a strong and sensible first touch that guides decision making. This drill effectively teachers players to anticipate, not just react, and to occupy space on the field. Start slowly then build speed but keep the focus on accuracy and moving properly without the ball!

BELOW: A great warmup exercise or pre-season drill to help players understand their space and options in just about any system. Coaches may need to adjust the number and position of players, but for standard formations of 4-4-2, 4-3-3, or even 4-2-3-1 this should work with 1 or 2 midfielders in the middle.