Leadership as a Center Attacking Midfielder
Center Attacking Midfield, also known as:
– The 10 Position
– Center Attacking Mid
Leadership in soccer positions such as this one are sorely overlooked. From the looks of it, you have playmakers behind you and playmakers in front of you. What’s the need for leadership here when you have skilled players all around you? That’s exactly why you need a strong leader here. As the center attacking midfielder, leadership often involves following, or supporting, but also pushing past the rest.
As a 10, you have to be able to:
- stay calm under pressure and control the ball
- make quick decisions using spatial awareness
- be greedy sometimes
- be physically strong
- be selfless
- support other players
Stay Calm Under Pressure and Control the Ball
This position should always be ready to be in the thick of it. Meaning you have to always be ready to get the ball with pressure on all sides of you and keep your composure. The only way to do that is to have great ball-control skills. You need to be able to receive the ball, keep it from others, and be able to distribute it effectively.
Make Quick Decisions using Spatial Awareness
Once you get the ball, strong spatial awareness needs to come into play so you can make quick decisions. You have to know where the other team players are as well as your own. Most of the time, you don’t have time to evaluate the field to see where everyone is. Generally, you’ll have to get the ball and make the final drive towards the goal by distributing the ball to a wing or striker. If you need to, you could also drop the ball back to keep control of the game.
Be Greedy Sometimes
When making the final attacking run towards the goal, sometimes you have to be greedy. What I mean by this is to use your skills as an individual to maneuver around the opposing team without passing. Then you can get close enough to take a shot from far out (20-30 yards) with power. That is where individual skill and strength is really important.
Be Physically Strong
From this position, you should be able to take shots from far out and still be able to hit the back of the net. You can only do this with strong quads, glutes, and hamstrings. A strong shot starts with the quad and glute. If you play this position, during some practices you should be able to shoot the ball from 30 yards out and have the ball go straight to the back of the net without any arch or bend.
Even though you should have the ability to shoot effectively from that far out, you can’t ALWAYS do it. You have to know when it’s a better decision for the team to just lay it off to someone else to finish. Like giving it to the striker, a lot of times it’s your job to get the ball. Do a little showing off so the defense is drawn to you. This opens up an opportunity for the striker to get into a better position to finish the attack. Then you’ll need to just give it to them and allow them to get the glory.
Support Other Players
Once you give the striker the ball, however, your job is FAR from over. You HAVE to follow that pass up with support from behind. After you draw the defense towards you and give the ball to the striker, you should fall in behind him quickly and attack. This way, if he misses or the shot is blocked, you follow up for the goal. If the striker gets the ball and gets under to much pressure they should have you there to drop the ball to so the attack can keep going. This also gives you the opportunity to get the glory shot and finish. This is why you have to have good ball skills and power.
Other Things to Consider
I want to reiterate that none of this can happen if you don’t first have good spatial awareness. If you notice that the opposing team are not drawing to you then you have to change your game plan and give it to a wing either to your side or the corner flag. If their defense is shutting down your attacks you may need to drop it to your 6 for an over-the-top run.
This also all depends on the formation…
What I have shown above is a 1-3-5-1-1 and allows the 10, or center attacking mid, to be free-flowing throughout the pitch, just behind the 9. Other formations change the 10’s responsibilities drastically, however, most of the fundamentals remain the same. Spacial awareness, power, strong ball control, good decision-making skills, support these are all still important.
It Takes the Whole Team
Soccer is a beautiful sport with many moving parts. The team is not hinged on one position. It requires the effort of every player in every position, working together and each holding themselves to a high standard.
Keep following the blog for more info on how to be a leader in every soccer position.