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Line Fundamentals

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Barcelona, Spain.

Here at the MBP School of Coaches, we just completed our 8th week of the Master in High Performance Soccer, which means we are officially half way towards becoming a ‘Master’ in the MBP Methodology.

During the 8th week we completed the line fundamentals (defensive, midfielder, and forward lines).

Without any further ado, let’s get right into it.

As I alluded to in the previous post, the line fundamentals are synchronized actions that all members of the line must be cognizant of in addition to their Individual Fundamentals per Position (IFPs).

Similar to the IFPs, the line fundamentals are also categorized into ‘folders’ so the players are able to recognize the optimal response for the given situation. After each line description, I will further explain a sub-stage.

Defensive Line Fundamentals

Defensive Blocks

  1. Maintaining the balance

  2. Identifying the player to mark

  3. Defending the space

  4. Getting out of the penalty area

  5. Defense of crosses

  6. Anticipating sequences

Offensive Blocks

  1. Maintaining the Balance

  2. Safety passes

  3. Seeking Superiority

To explain further, Dr. Rude taught us that one of the sub-stages in the ‘Defense of crosses’ block states ‘moving back rapidly before crosses to reduce space between line and goalkeeper’. The idea is that when the defensive line anticipates a crossing action, the line must drop rapidly in order to position in the space where the cross can be played. On the surface it seems quite simple, but the action is challenging, as all members of the line must synchronize the ‘dropping’ action. I present two video clips – one positive action and one negative action from Real Madrid.

In the first clip (positive), notice the quick change in pace from the Real Madrid defensive line in an effort to reduce the space between them and the goalkeeper during a crossing action in order to win the 50/50 ball. Go to 2:39 for the exact action.

In the second clip, you will notice that Madrid’s defensive line drops extremely casually, and ultimately suffers a goal. A great example that players of the highest caliber must learn and train the fundamentals!

Midfield Line Fundamentals

Offensive Blocks

  1. Maintaining the balance

  2. Offering support

Defensive Blocks

  1. Defending the space

  2. Identifying the player to mark

As I think about the best way to describe one of the sub-stages of the ‘maintaining the balance’, I have concluded that the best way to articulate my thoughts is through simply watching a video. The reason being is because when executed correctly, there are no words that can describe the actions appropriately. One of the sub-stages to the ‘maintaining the balance’ block is ‘establishing diagonal positions in relation to the front and back lines’. In essence, it is the formation of diamonds. When you watch, pay particular attention to the dynamic movements that the FCB midfielders are able to execute while keeping the balance within their offensive structure. With that being said, enjoy!

Forward Line Fundamentals

Offensive Blocks

  1. Mobilizing the attack

  2. Shooting in the finishing area

  3. Anticipating sequences

  4. Using advantages

Defensive Blocks

  1. Defending the space

Finally, to better describe the ‘mobilizing the attack’ block, I want to discuss the sub-stage ‘creating your own space for losing the marker’. To explain this, I want to highlight an action that Pedro did vs Real Madrid in 2010. Dr. Rude explained to us that when a player in the forward line is tightly marked, they must execute an action to create space, either in the space behind or in front of the defender, creating an option for their teammate to keep possession or play a penetrating pass. When you watch the video, pay particular attention how Pedro drags the defender with him towards to the ball, and then quickly changes pace in order to get the back of the defender.

To cap off the week, we traveled to Espanyol’s training ground to analyze their U-14s, and when the game finished, we traveled to the FC Barcelona B game at the Mini-Estadi (next to the Camp Nou). The FCB ‘B’ game was really exciting as the opponent fought fire with fire by playing attacking soccer!

To say the 8th week of the MBP course was mentally draining would be an understatement. The information and details of each fundamental requires as much brainpower as possible! Next week we move onto the Universal ‘Team’ fundamentals in addition to more physical conditioning lessons with Dr. Altarriba!

Thanks for reading!

Twitter: @BrettUttley & @TOGSoccer

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