From mastering ball control to finding a good football coach, there are many factors required to take your football skills to the next level. However, to properly advance and progress in the sport, you’ll need to make sure you’re placed in the right position for you during games. You will usually get a sense of which is the right position for you to play in depending on your individual skills and strengths and your coach may also help to guide you. For instance, while being a goalkeeper requires you to have responsive reflexes to aid quick reactions, being a centre-back requires a high level of strength and resilience.
Whether you’re just starting out and have been looking to find out more about what the different football positions are, or you’re keen to know more about the different skills required for each, read on to find out all of that and more.
When deciding on a football position, it’s important to pick one that plays to your strengths. We would therefore recommend making a list of your football strengths or discussing these with your teammates or coach in order to help you identify the position you may be best suited to.
However, just because you decide on a particular football position, it doesn’t mean this is set in stone. In fact, many players who start playing in one position will transition to others as the years go by and they grow in confidence, discovering where their individual skills are best put to use.
In football, players are split into four main position types; goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and forwards. We explain each of these below, looking in the context of full 11-a-side football:
A unique position distinct from the others - being a goalkeeper could be considered one of the most important roles on the pitch. Fittingly, this position can also be viewed as one of the hardest, due to the broad skillset required. To successfully perform in this position, you’ll need a large amount of patience while constantly staying alert to wherever a goal may be attempted by the opposing team.
Not only this, but being a goalkeeper also involves having good reflexes and being able to predict the moves of the other players so you can make quick decisions in a matter of seconds. Durability is also required, as goalkeepers often need to take dives and reach large spans to ensure they fully cover the goal.
Tasked with defending their goal from the opposition, as well as their side of the pitch in general by stopping opposing forwards in any advances they try to make, defenders can be split into the following positions:
Arguably the most challenging position on the pitch, the forwards are responsible for scoring goals for their team. This includes the following positions:
Midfielders are based across the middle area of the football pitch. Central midfielders are based centrally in this area of the pitch. However, the number of these players can largely depend on the strategy of the team. These can be broken down into:
The middle of the pitch is also home to the left wingers and right wingers. While the main task of these players is to attack the defenders from the opposition, they can also help the full backs defensively. Wingers are expected to move at a fast pace, with good dribbling skills and can shoot the ball well.
If you already have many years’ experience and enjoy watching others progress from the sidelines, you may find that you are best positioned as a team coach. If you’re looking to find out more about what this role involves, take a look at our blog on how to become a football coach.
Arguably the most physically challenging position in football, to be a centre back, you will have to be strong and active. Therefore, we recommend working on your physique outside of football sessions if you’re interested in adopting this position, which could be anything from running to weight training at the gym. However, this position can also be mentally taxing, as it’s important for you to judge which direction the game is heading in to put your team at an advantage. Most importantly though, the starting point of the game is crucial. You will need to have the ability to start strong and go head-to-head with your opponents from the offset.
Though there is no easy position to play in football, with all requiring an equal amount of focus and being both physically and mentally demanding in different ways - being a full back is a good starting point if you’re new to the sport.
Being able to successfully defend the ball from opponents is a key trait to being a successful full back. Though physically demanding - you may find there is less pressure to this role than being a goalkeeper or a centre back, for example.
Whichever football position you choose, it’s important to factor in what you consider your main strengths to be, as well as what your teammates think you’re good at. While, if you’re also looking for a new kit to help you perform well in your new position, take a look at our range of teamwear at Avec Sport.