High Pressure in the Middle Third

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the FineSoccer Drills Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on high pressure in the middle third of the field.

Start with a field 60 x 44 broken into thirds (you might want to make the middle third slightly bigger than the other two). There is a goal on each end line, a keeper in each goal and 4 v 4 in the middle. There is also a free defender in each defensive third of the field.


Each teams free player in the back must stay in that third and is also limited to 2 touches. Play starts with a pass from one of the keepers to a player in the middle.


The players in the middle play man to man defense and try to force the ball backwards.


When the ball is played backwards, the players in the middle step up and mark tightly (realizing they have support behind in their free teammate).


Since they know the free player on the opposing team is only allowed 2 touches, if they see the opportunity, one of the players can step to that player and pressure him.

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If the defending team wins the ball in their attacking half of the field, they should try to get to goal as quickly as possible. If they win the ball in their defensive half of the field, they should play the ball back to their keeper or their free player and now they are on the attack.

The key to this activity is to try to force the ball backwards and then to step up and pressure when appropriate. Offensively, the players should be patient, look for a defender being too aggressive and try to get behind the defense when possible.

Have a great day!


By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

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