Soccer tactics for kicking the ball down the middle

If you play golf, you'll know that when you think of hitting a sweet drive, you visualise the ball going straight down the middle of the fairway and putting you in a great position to attack the green. Help your players handle the same situation on the pitch with the following soccer coaching tips and drills.

In soccer, your goalkeeper or your centre back will sometimes see a sea of players in front of them part to each side, giving an opportunity to hit the ball straight down the middle – like a golfer on a treelined fairway.

If your attacker is alert to the possibility of the ball down the middle, they can react quicker than the covering defenders and latch onto the ball to create a 1v1 with the goalkeeper.

This opportunity usually happens in 7-a-side matches or small-sided games when players are marking each other waiting for a goal kick or just after an attack as the players look to get back into position and the goalkeeper has the ball in their hands.

Key soccer coaching tip: Quick thinking is vital to this type of goal kick or clearance. Wingers can pull defenders wide and leave your attacker with fewer markers to beat to the ball.

image shows session where goalkeeper kicks down middle of pitch.

All your players need to think quickly, so run through the tactic during training drills with your goalkeeper and the players involved. Get the goalkeeper kicking straight down the middle and play one attacker versus two defenders to see who can get to the ball first.