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Improving Your #6 In Possession

Updated: May 6

In this week's MSC Breakdown, we take a look at ways to improve a holding midfielder in possession. Passing ability and composure are two aspects that most coaches would prioritize in this position, but in this breakdown we are looking for a little more. We want to focus on looking the contribution to creating goalscoring opportunities and the relationship with those attacking teammates. With this objective, we are going to focus on three exercises that can create realistic game-like situations, to teach body shape and receiving, progressive passes, and reading pressure. If you would like more positional support, please check out our new MSC Positional Training ebook, a video PowerPoint that includes over 30 exercises, all split into positional categories, the exercises in this presentation are easily adapted to offer players different pictures, experiences and challenges. Click here to get your copy.


Below is a YouTube breakdown detailing three exercises. If you enjoy this content, please subscribe to our MSC YouTube page.




Please find the information and dimensions for all the exercises below:


7v4 Transfer Rondo



  • Exercise takes place in a 25x10 yard area, split into two zones with a 5 yard median

  • 2v2 in each zone, one target player on each side, two full-backs who can move up and down, and then the holding midfielder in the median

  • Objective is to start with a natural 5v2 and get three consecutive passes, before passing into the #6 and transferring the ball to the next zone

  • The #6 is limited to two touches so body shape upon receiving the ball is crucial to open up and play into the next zone

  • After the ball is transferred, the situation is recreated in the other zone and the game continues to flow







7v7 Three Zone Game




  • Exercise takes place inside a 20x45 yard area split into three zones

  • Teams are organized with two defenders, three midfielders and two forwards in each zone

  • The team in possession can move freely throughout the zones

  • The defensive team are restricted to their starting zones

  • Team in possession can 'skip' zones to play forward

  • If possession is lost, players must immediately return to starting zones




6v6 Final Third Game




  • Exercise takes place in the final third with a 10x10 yard area for the # 6 to start

  • Attacking team starts with a front three and two attacking midfielders

  • Defensive team start with a goalkeeper, a back four and a holding midfielder

  • Game starts with pass into #6 who is restricted to two touches and must play forward into attacking teammates

  • If possession is lost, defensive team score one point for wide mini-goals and two points for central mini-goals

  • Progression: Add a central midfielder for the defensive team and now allow the #6 to vacate the zone and have freedom to support the attack




If you enjoy this breakdown, please check out our MSC eBook:Twenty Attacking Training Sessions, designed to help coaches connect the dots between philosophy, tactical flexibility and session design. The book contains twenty full session plans that are broken down into three phases: build-up, midfield progression, and goal-scoring. Each session will contain three exercises so there are 60 exercises overall! With his experience in the professional game as a coach and an analyst, Gary Curneen has designed these sessions to help bring out intensity, tactical understanding and game-like situations, that are enjoyable for both players and staff. Click here to get your copy.

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