Playing out of position: A soccer training essential
Change your position to elevate your game. How playing out of position may well be the best soccer training workout.
We’ve all been there. Whether it’s because a player is missing or because there is too much competition in your chosen role. Your coach is talking you through the team and you notice that he’s asking you to play in an unfamiliar role. You’re an attacker and he wants you to play defence, or you’re a defender and he’s wanting you to play in attack… Either way you don’t need to panic.
Firstly, your manager believes in you. That’s why he’s asking you to play outside of your comfort zone. Secondly. Even the greatest managers on earth, ask some of the best players on earth. Pep Guardiola is a key example of this. Guardiola has a remarkable ability of taking a player out his natural position and elevating their game in a brand new role.
Every time we play in a new position, we develop a new dimension to our game. Sometimes we’re all so desperate to be the player who scores that we don’t realises our exceptional potential to be the player who provides, who tackles, who saves. As a coach, it’s a duty to look for these attributes in every player.
Pep Guardiola saw this in Javier Mascherano when he converted him from a Holding midfielders to a Centre Back and he saw this in Philipp Lahm when he converted him from a Left Back to a Holding Midfielder. You would be hard-pressed to find anybody who would argue that these two players have not elevated their games since changing position? You’d be even harder pressed to find a team mate who isn’t hugely grateful to them for the role changes these players took to better their clubs.
“He understands the game,” said Guardiola of Philipp Lahm.”Not all players do. Philipp can play in all positions.”
At Manchester City, Pep Guardiola has continued this trend. Fabian Delph’s career looked all but over when Pep Guardiola first arrived at the Etihad in 2016. Delph has reinvigorated his career after Guardiola converted him into a left wing back after Benjamin Mendy suffered a serious injury. Fabian took this new responsibility as an opportunity to show his ability and was rewarded with a shock call up to the England national side in 2018, three years after his last appearance! A fantastic demonstration of getting your head down and following the advice of those around you. Sure, it might at first feel frustrating, but look at it for the great opportunity that playing in an unfamiliar position could become.
Are you able to play in all positions? Is there a player in your team who would benefit from a positional change? Try it and be confident, playing multiple positions is the best complement you can receive.