The midfield is what connects the offense and the defense. As a midfielder, you have to be able to attack, defend, and do everything in between. However, there are many different midfield roles, each with certain responsibilities depending on your team’s tactical setup. As a defensive midfielder, your main job is to prevent goals from being scored against your team, and as an attacking midfielder, your main job is to make sure that your team scores enough goals to eventually win the game. As a central midfielder, you have to do both of the above while staying focused for the entire 90 minutes of the game.
Here we present 5 drills that will help you improve your game using the m-station soccer rebounder. If you feel like taking your skills to the next level the NEXT11 training program teaches you how to become a better midfielder regardless of whether your job is to defend, attack, or do both. Sign up here to receive new drills every week to become a better midfielder.
1. Short Passes — Interception and Passing on the First Touch
As a defensive midfielder, your job is to maintain balance when your team is dispossessed. Fall back, position yourself correctly, and identify passing opportunities. Tackling, marking, and a great understanding of the game are essential to a strong defensive midfielder. As a midfielder, you will also be in control of the ball after intercepting it or receiving a short pass. Unless you are the Busquets/Xabi Alonso kind of defensive midfielder, you should execute a short, simple pass once you gain possession of the ball, thereby providing a stable environment in which the more creative players can thrive. N’Golo Kanté was a major factor on the Leicester team that brought home the 2015/2016 Premier League title. Many of his timely interceptions led to quick goals on the other end of the field.
With this drill, you have to look up to see where your teammates and opponents are, lock your angle on the player you want to pass to, and kick the ball with the inside of your foot.
2. First Touch — The Xavi Edition
Xavi is indisputably one of the greatest midfielders of all time. He is not a classic defensive midfielder like Daniele De Rossi or Sami Khedira,, but he takes a relatively defensive stance on the field. In most cases, he is the first person to receive the ball from the defensive line. However, even in this deep position, some technical skills on the ball are required. The way Xavi controls the ball is unique, and to pay tribute to what he offers on the pitch, this drill is named after him.
When playing the ball off the m-station rebounder, make sure to dribble with the outside of your foot to keep your body between your opponent and the ball. Make your turn away from your opponent, and use your arm to protect your personal space and maintain balance to protect the ball from your opponent.
3. First Touch — The Fabregas Edition
Being able to make a good first touch on the ball is extremely important for a central or slightly attacking midfielder. There are different ways of controlling the ball, and we already introduced the Xavi edition. We now discuss a maneuver from another product of La Masia: Cesc Fabregas. At the age of 21, the Spanish midfielder became the captain of a promising Arsenal side, and he participated in both Arsenal’s incredible 2003-04 season and the 2006 Champions League final against Barcelona. Fabregas has always been renowned for having an exquisite and stylish first touch, which is why this drill is dedicated to him and his technical ability.
To execute a proper Fabregas Turn, stretch out your foot to meet the ball, and use your foot to guide the ball past you and in the new direction. Make sure to keep contact between the ball and your foot throughout the turn. The fewer touches you make, the better control you achieve.
4. Long Passes — Diagonal Pass
There are, as mentioned earlier, different types of midfielders, but even those specific types of midfielders have subcategories, like the central holding midfielder. There is the Daniele De Rossi type of central holding midfielder, and there is the Xabi Alonso type. As the Xabi Alonso type of holding midfielder, you are partly a playmaker. Your job is to set up your teammates by delivering accurate long balls as well as short passes. Xabi Alonso is particularly well known for his extremely precise diagonal passes, which tear up defenses in an unparalleled fashion and contribute to his status as one of the most decorated players of all time.
When executing a long diagonal pass, you will usually be positioned on your own side of the pitch. The longer the pass, the more movement you force out of the opposing team. Before you hit the ball, approach it at a 45-degree angle. Lean your body a bit away from the ball to create a straight line from your foot up through your hip and shoulder. Place your standing foot 10-20 cm away from the ball (depending on your height) and point it in the direction of the pass.
5. Basic Soccer skills — Fast feet
Having fast feet and quick reactions is important for any type of soccer player, but being able to think quickly and react accordingly with the ball is especially crucial for wingers and attacking midfielders. Technical ability is one thing, but if you do not have strong reaction time, technical skills will not help you much. Beating your marker is easy without a ball if you are simply faster than your opponent, but beating him with the ball at your feet is a greater challenge. It requires pace, agility, balance, technical ability, and determination, and this set of skills can be enhanced with a specific drill focusing on your reflexes and rapid turns with the ball.
To improve your foot speed and develop stronger reflexes, stand on stand on the balls of your feet. Bend your knees, keep your arms in a natural running position, and pull your right arm forward when you tap the ball with your left foot.