TIPS FOR MIDFIELDERS
Midfield (or Middie) is a very complex position and the best athletes should be used here. We’ve compiled a few concepts to give young midfielder an idea of what they should be doing on the field. Practice these tips and you’ll have a pretty solid foundation on which to build.
In general, good midfielders need speed, strength and incredible endurance. Middies are required to run up and down the field, so quickness is a very important skill for this position. Middies are also able to grab ground balls, shoot from the outside and play defense. This position is multi-faceted, which is probably the reason that it’s so popular. Some midfielders are expert dodgers while others are great at shooting from the outside. It’s really best to practice all aspects of the position. The best middies are well rounded.
The key to being great at this position is learning when and how to pass. Of course every player wants to be the one who scores the goal, but a player who can pass when necessary is worth more to the team. Make sure that your passes have purpose. You don’t want to move the ball just for the sake of passing. If the recipient is no better off to make a move, then the pass loses its value. After a pass, however, the midfielder should hussle down to the goal to grab a return pass if necessary. A midfielder should always be on the move to keep the defense on their toes.
Unlike the attack position (with 4 dodges to chose from and perfect) the split dodge is all a midfielder really needs to use. Basically, the split dodge is a way to fake out your opponent. To do this move successfully, quick plant your lead foot and make a sudden switch of directions. To perfect this move, a midfielder should be equally comfortable using either hand. The split dodge will allow you to set up a variety of moves, but the whole point of this maneuver is to get the ball to the goal.
The best midfielders know how to handle their stick in a face off. Start out by placing your right hand just above the neck of the stick and your left hand in the middle of the stick. More often than not, the middie taking the faceoff cannot win the ball to himself. That is why you need to be sure to communicate with your teammates on which way you are going to rake the ball to them.
THINGS YOU NEED TO GET GOOD AT
- Gettting your hands away from your body
- Snapping your stick over the top with your wrists
- Turning your upper body
- Driving with your front shoulder toward the goal
- If you are fading away from the goal or shooting off your back foot or not turning and shooting in stride, you’ll want to practice to break these bad habits right away.
Midfielders need to learn one-on-one defense. You should pick up or cover your man with the ball at about 15 yards away from the goal. The defensive-midfielder does not want to allow his man to get to the top side or to the middle of the field. The d-middie wants to guide his man down the side of the field to lessen the angle that he will have for a shot and to give him fewer options for a feed.
As a defensive midfielder, never chase after the ball carriers stick to attempt a take away and never lunge at the offensive player. Whenever this happens, the defensive midfielder gets beat towards the top side. Learn to keep your man down the side. As simple as it sounds, this sometimes takes a great deal of practice for youth players to grasp. Once they learn though, it makes them a great defensive player as a midfielder.