How to Play Defensive Midfield in Soccer
Free Soccer Training video focused on learning how to play defensive center midfield. At Online Soccer Academy (OSA) we make BETTER Soccer Players / Football Players through FREE soccer tutorials. We inspire athletes that if you Believe in it® and back that up with hard work, anything in life is possible.
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How To Play Defensive Center Midfield
Today we are learning how to play defensive center mid. DCM! DCM stands for defensive center midfield. This is the central midfielder that usually plays in more of a defensive role versus an attacking role. I love this position and I played center mid growing up and as a pro.
A good mantra for a DCM could be, “I win the midfield battles and connect my teammates by passing.”
Know what is going on around you. Coaches always say, “know what to do with the ball before you get it.” But how do you know?
You know by checking your shoulders regularly. When you look behind you, you are taking a mental picture of the field. You are looking for defenders, teammates, space, runs, etc. The best DCM’s are the smartest. Work on your speed of play regularly by watching these OSA videos.
DO NOT try to play the perfect pass every time. Your job is to be the connect person of the defense and attack by making passes. Mainly, simple on the ground passes. Yes, sometimes you need to chip a ball, switch the field or hit a long ball over the top, that is fine.
My point is, when you see a pass make it. Don’t try to always look for that perfect pass and doubt your first option.
Keep your shape. Try to stay in the central part of the field when in your defensive, middle and attacking thirds.
In the attacking third you usually don’t need to go much farther then the top of the 18. Yes, there will be times you make a late run in the box. But for the most part you need to keep your shape in case there is a turn over.
If the ball goes wide to your winger don’t run all the way wide to support them. Stay more central.
Stand with your body open to the field. What I mean is if your right winger has the ball, don’t stand like this.
Why not? Because now you can’t see what’s behind you and your body is positioned to take a touch back in the direction the ball came.
Instead stand like this, with your body open to the field going forward. This way you can see the ball, what’s up the field and also your body is positioned to take a positive touch.
If you have a defender on you, then your body is in position to be a shield between the ball and the defender. This gives you better balance, strength and you are less likely to get knocked off the ball. Versus standing with your back to the field and your stance will make you off balance if you get knocked from behind by a defender.
You need to be good at defending. Watch our OSA defending videos here. Specifically watch the video about how to defend an attacker when they are running at you.
Be a leader. Communicate on the field by saying man on and turn. Lead by example by setting the tone in midfield that you will work hard the full game. Encourage your teammates when they do a good job and let them know it’s okay if they make a mistake.
Make the players around you better by being positive and you will be a better player.
Attack when it’s on. It won’t be on every play, but when it’s on get involved in the attack. Make that late run into the box, take that shot from 20 yards out, play the killer pass over the top, get an assist, score a goal… be the hero!
Don't attack every play because remember your job is to connect your teammates by passing but on occasion make something special happen when it feels right.
Exercise Player Can Do:
This exercise is for ball distribution. It will help you work on your simple, clean passes to connect the defenders to the attackers.
You will need a few balls, a partner and 5 cones. Set the balls up at a cone where your right full back is. Then have the right back pass you a ball. You angle your body to the field, check your shoulders to see what is coming and then take a set up touch in the direction you want to go for your pass.
You decide if you will pass it to the attacking center mid, outside winger, back to your center back or chip it to your forward.
You make the call. The cones are your imaginary teammates.
Let’s do a few and that will give you a better idea of how it works.
Do a few sets and then change the start ball position. Put the balls at the center back spot, the winger, the attacking center mid, etc.
For an advanced exercise do the passes in one touch, instead of two.
You are working on a game simulation so come game time you won’t panic and just kick the ball. Instead you will keep possession and be the connector.
If you don't have a partner set up a bench and pass the ball off the bench to pretend it's your partner passing you the ball.
What Player Could Be Doing Wrong:
Some things that could be going wrong. If you keep making bad passes and losing the ball in midfield then you are not knowing what to do with the ball before you get it.
MAKE SURE you check your shoulders and take mental picture of the field before every pass you receive. Work on Speed of Play regularly by watching these OSA videos.
The game is simple, do what it shows you. If a defender is coming, pass the ball back. Don’t turn into them. If you look behind you and you have space, turn and go forward.
It’s not easy to make it look easy, practice speed of play regularly.
Think simple in the back, creative going forward.
When you are in your defensive and middle third keep it simple. Don’t try to play the killer, fancy pass from your defensive third. If you lose the ball there then that increases the chances your mistake will lead to a goal.
Save your occasional creative passes for the attacking third. This way if it’s a bad pass, no big deal. Just get back on defense, react positive and there will be less of a chance your bad pass leads to a goal.