The attacking midfielder position is one of the most fun to play, but the job also comes with a lot of responsibilities. If you want to be a great attacking midfielder, then you need to take the time to learn what it takes to develop in that position.
Below are some key ways to become a great attacking midfielder in soccer.
1. Master Your First Touch
Having a great first touch is important for a number of reasons. The main one is that the defense is going to swarm on you quickly when you get the ball, so you have to take that first touch and quickly either dribble, pass, or shoot. A bad first touch can lead to turnovers or it will slow your team’s momentum down.
2. Get the Right Weight on Your Passes
There aren’t too many better feelings in the game of soccer than a perfectly weighted pass. The key to getting the right amount of power on your passes is to know where you want the ball to meet your teammate, and anticipating where the defenders are going to be. This takes a lot of practice, but it is totally worth it if you want to be a great attacking midfielder.
3. Movement Off the Ball
Attacking midfielders need to get the ball as often as possible, so you have to be willing to be creative with your movements so your teammates can get the ball to your feet. Since defenses will often key in on where you are at all times, you need to work on being creative with your movements. Don’t just run towards the ball; make diagonal runs or fake one way and dart the other to create openings for yourself.
4. Don’t Shy Away from Shooting
One of the issues that many creative midfielders run into is that they get pass-happy. That means that they always are looking to pick out a great pass rather than simply making the best play. You will find that you will be open to shoot a lot if the opposing team knows you can pick out a pass, so definitely take those chances when they arise.
5. Get on the Same Page with Teammates
Practice is a great time to get to know your teammates’ instincts on the field. While it can take a while to develop team chemistry, it is absolutely necessary to build into a successful soccer team. Once you get a feel for what your teammates will do in different situations, it will be much easier to create the best scoring opportunities for your team. It will also greatly reduce the chances of you turning the ball over. Remember, one of your key jobs as an attacking midfielder is to know the importance of possession and limit turnovers.
6. Know Your Defensive Role
While the holding midfielders do have the most defensive responsibilities of all of the midfielders, attacking midfielders also need to know what their jobs are when their team doesn’t have the ball. In fact, most defensive strategies will have them playing down the middle of the field, so they have to be able to stop counterattacks from going through the middle. If you are around the goal area when the opposing team gets the ball, you will need to sprint back to keep your team’s defensive shape.
7. See Things in Slow Motion
Since your role as the attacking midfielder demands that you are the creative force on your team, you need to slow the game down in your mind. There is a lot going on all over the field, so when you get the ball you need to be able to quickly pick out the right passes or move in for a shot. The only way to succeed in this role is to see the action in front of you in slow motion so you can make the right decisions.
You might think that it is extremely difficult to slow the action down in your mind, but it will come if you dedicate time to master the attacking midfielder position. Before long you will be able to easily pick out the right pass even if three or four of your teammates are going on different runs.