To begin with, this is not going to be another basic article like you have probably already seen somewhere on the internet. So no, I am not going to tell you that you need to make amazing passes, and have excellent technical skills. If you are reading this article, your probably not a newbie to football (soccer). You probably know that the basics of the midfield positions require excellent technical ability, so we are not going to talk about that today. I like to get straight to point and break my information down in the most relatable fashion for everyone to understand.
Let's get started, here are my five tips to become a better CM or CAM:
GREAT POSITIONING & RAISE YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE GAME
As a midfielder, excellent positioning is understanding space. Now, there are two types of space in football, which we call free space and then, of course, no free space. Having a complete understanding of both situations is crucial to raising your level of play. Just think, with space, we have more time to control the game, and with no space, we have less time. So, you must master these two types of situations in the game. When thinking about space, understand why you are looking for space. It's either your creating space for you or for someone else to receive the ball.
Now, in situations when I have no space, remember you can have no space with or without the ball. A great midfielder needs to be great with the ball at their feet and also when it not.
Getting out of situations where you have no space means you must create the space. The best midfield master the art of finding creating space out of nothing through skill and vision. I have found that ball mastery training is a great way to develop excellent ball-handling skills for these situations. Ball mastery helps you develop control on the ball, making it difficult for opponents to get off your feet.
Now, the following situation is 'no space' without the ball. It's preferred to avoid this situation or understand why. Ask yourself these questions. Are you closing your space to open space for someone else to get the ball, or are your movements not predetermining a vision of play? Some great midfielders that you can use, for example, are the Barcelona three Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, and Sergio Busquets. Besides their extraordinary technical abilities, they are some of the most intelligent midfield minds in football. I recommend you watch some of their extended highlights and analyze their game.
BE DISCIPLINE & KNOW YOUR ROLE
Midfielders have the most responsibility on the pitch. Think of a midfielder ass the engine of a car. A car can function on a flat tire or broken windows, but without the engine, it's useless. This is how you need to look at your role in the midfield. Perfecting your role requires you to be disciplined. Your responsibility in the middle needs to be specific or configured in the best way to help your team succeed. Some coaches ask you to stay central, and some may ask you to free roam. Whatever the requirements are, you need to adjust and follow through. Know when to push forward, when to hold back, when to dribble, and pass and over-communicate. You set the pace of the game.
KNOW WHAT'S AROUND YOU AT ALL TIMES
Because you're in the middle of the field, you're almost always going to be under some pressure. This is why midfielders need to know what is happening in all directions of the pitch. Developing awareness can separate you from other midfielders. The midfield position is as an artist. Most artists visualize the outcome of their artwork piece by piece before they create, so they always know what's next. A midfielder should carry the same concept to be dominant. Start thinking about solutions to situations before stepping onto the field. Football is becoming so sophisticated that you can no longer step onto the field without a mental plan. Your mental skills are just as necessary as your physical and technical ability.
BE COMPOSED UNDER PRESSURE
Players who can stay calm throughout the game find more solutions on the field. This is primarily in the most chaotic moments. It takes superior emotional intelligence to unlock this skill that can be developed over time. The more emotional intelligence you develop, the better your mind can respond to chaos. Midfielders who don't practice composure probably lose the ball about 85% more than the typical player. Just like we talk about before, awareness, or seeing the field will give you comfort while under pressure. So you must continuously scan and look around the field to detect what's coming next. Your ability to quickly detect pressure while staying calm allows for quicker problem-solving even if it means playing the ball backward. Remember, your job as a midfielder is to keep possession, defend, create, and distribute. When composed, you will produce more quality.
LEARN TO COVER THE PITCH
Covering the pitch has a lot to do with fitness and being in the right places at all times. Let's take Chelsea's Kolo Kante, for example. He is a box to box midfielder with an extreme level of fitness. He is primarily known for being in the right place at the right time with the ability to shutdown down opposition attacks with a considerable success rate. You're going to need to build stamina. It's crucial to be fit, not fast when playing in the midfield. Footballers rarely hit top speed during a match, so it will serve you better to be quick. Speed is a great asset but not necessary. Your overall fitness level will always be exposed in the midfield. To cover the field, you must make sure that you have the stamina and mentality to keep up.
To conclude, the midfield position takes a lot of intelligence and discipline to perfect. You understand that technical ability is a priority and mastering the five tips above while help you become the best midfielder you can be.
If you can find any more tips that you think I should have added, please free to leave a comment, and let's chat.