After we have been analyzing almost all positions on the field, one central position (pun intended) on the field is missing: The center midfielder! Other than Center Backs and Center Forwards, the Center Mids must constantly move up and down the field. Whether it´s a defensive midfielder (6), center mid (8) or attacking mid (10), these positions need to run!
Defensive midfielders are covering the most distance in a game. That´s why experts often call these players box-to-box midfielder. Think Paul Pogba or Arthuro Vidal. These players cover most ground in a constant jog, so their basic endurance needs to be strong. Long runs with medium intensity will help prepare for that. This position covers the least distance in sprints. However, they need to be explosive in the first few yards to get to their mark and the attacking player.
Because they are the first line of defense before the actual Center Backs, 6´s are involved in a high number of defensive 1v1´s. Therefore, players in this position need to have a strong core. This is obtained through sit-ups, planks, and similar exercises. Sitting in the middle of the pitch, players will be involved in a lot of headers, coming from goal kicks, clearances or other long balls, so it will be advantageous to have a good vertical leap.
Offensive Midfielders are directing the attack, so they are touching the ball a lot. While basic endurance and acceleration needs to be trained here, speed with the ball can be a deciding factor in the game. Dribblings at max-speed can help to improve both, pace AND touch. This will give the ultimate advantage in the game. During many situations, 10´s need to make runs without actually getting the ball, or directly defending against the ball. When pressing the opponent, attacking midfielders are amongst the first to run up to the ball. But only to see the ball getting played to an outside back or defensive midfielder. This is not only physically exhausting, but also mentally, so these players need strong endurance and understand that these runs are just as important as getting the ball.
Next to center forwards, 10´s cover most distance sprinting, and next to defensive midfielders, 10´s cover the most distance jogging. As you can see, this is a physically demanding position, so a variety of endurance trainings is beneficial here.
In the past 4 parts, we have covered every position on the field, and their physical demands. In the last series, we will give you some practical advice on how to design position specific endurance training, as well as explain how periodization works and how to use it for your advantage!