By Justin Cresser
As your players advance and begin to play at higher levels, they will need some degree of Functional or Position-specific Soccer training. For example, wingers need to be good dribblers and crossers of the ball and should therefore devote time to perfecting these skills. In a similar fashion, central defenders need to be strong in the air and proficient in 1 v 1 situations. The same is true for conditioning. Players in the various positions will have specific conditioning needs and coaches should allocate some time to developing position-specific fitness needs.
Most of the exercises we present on this website are general fitness exercises, in that; they are suitable for every player on the team, regardless of position. This week and every so often however, we will look at position-specific conditioning exercises. Today’s activity is geared towards the central midfielder, but strikers and wingers can also benefit from the drill.
Center mids are often called upon to create space between themselves and their marker, check back to receive a pass played to their feet and in one motion, turn and attack the space in front of them. This sequence of movements is frequently seen with passing midfielders that play in front of the back four, such as Real Madrid’s Xavi Alonso, and requires good agility as well as proper turning and receiving technique.
Divide your players into groups of two. For each pair, set up 3 cones 12 yards apart in a straight line. Have yours players stand at each of the end cones facing each other. One of them should have a ball at their feet (Figure 1).
When ready, the player without the ball will run to the right of the cone in the centre. When they reach midway between this cone and their