Training the Center Midfielder For Anaerobic Capacity

By Anthony Hazelwood

The following activity has a playing area where a Center Midfielder (CM) will play against three defenders and 4 teammates positioned on each sideline. The CM will be working to adapt their anaerobic capacity through phases of intermittent endurance by being in constant movement for a minute at a time. The grid will be 18 x 18 and may be modified to the coach’s convenience. To start, a CM will be located on the inside of the grid along with four teammates located on each sideline. Three defenders will then be added. Once inside, the CM and teammates will keep possession by circulating the ball and combining. When the defending team retains possession of the ball it is restarted with the attacking team as quick as possible. Once the 1-minute repetition is complete, switch the CM player with another midfield player.

When preparing the activity, if needed, concentration and difficulty levels may be increased by having players execute something extra unique by setting more restrictions. Every activity may be modified, and it is up to the coach to be creative. However, it is important to respect the parameters of the exercise time, the rest, the types of actions used and the weekly periodization of the activity.

Additionally, it is beneficial to train a soccer team and its players with all the elements of the game is present in the session. By doing so, it will promote soccer specific adaptations to the player’s body, mind, and emotional triad. Ultimately, these adjustments will enhance their real-time game performances on a physical, emotional, conscious, and subconscious mental level.

Area Size: 18 d. x 18 yd.
Total Activity Time: 12 minutes.
Sets: 1.
Number of Repetitions: 10
Activity Repetition Time: 1-minute seconds
Recovery Interval Time between reps: 10 seconds.
Intensity: High.

Objectives:
• Tactical: Movement on and off the ball of the CM. Attacking shape and circulation.
• Fitness: Maintain high intense corporal actions.
• Technique: Proper fitness and off/on the ball execution/techniques.
• Mental-Emotional: Players fully engaged and concentration is high.
• Concentration Level: High.

Setup:
• Create an 18 x 18-yard grid.

• Create a team five and one team of three.
• From the team of five, locate four players on each sideline and one CM in the middle.

• Team of three, place three defenders in the middle.

• On whistle, give ball to the attacking team. The team in possession plays a 5 vs. 3 with sideline restrictions.

• On a turnover, the defending gives possession back.
• This will last for 1 minute. 10 seconds in between reps and quickly begin again.

Activity Progression:
• Play a one touch with the outside player and two touch on the inside restriction.
• One touch everywhere.

Coaching Points:
• CM movement on and off the ball.
• Supporting player on ball with proper angles.
• Aggressive defending behaviors.
• Pressure and cover defending principles.
• Keep track of time, 30 second on – 30-second rest.
• High intensity.
• Proper technique and Proper Exercise Movement.

By Anthony Hazelwood

Coach Anthony is a USSF “A” licensed coach with an M.S. in Sports Training and Nutrition and a B.S. in Physical Education. Currently, he is an Assistant and Sports Performance coach with the Miami FC. He has previous European youth academy coaching experience as a soccer fitness and strength/conditioning assistant coach with Levante U.D. and Getafe SAD in Valencia and Madrid, Spain.

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