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Intermediate Passing – The Driven Pass

INTERMEDIATE PASSING – THE DRIVEN PASS

The driven pass in soccer is the first application of the instep drive to passing.  It is the recognition that the inside-of-the-foot pass has limitations regarding sending the ball to a teammate at distance.  These limitations need to be overcome by a long, powerful, kick.  The driven pass is intended to send the ball along the ground, or partly above the ground, to an open teammate, basically on a straight line.  Also known as the instep pass, the driven pass can be used for such things as quickly changing the ball from one side of the field to the other, for passing from defense to attack, and for sending “through” balls.  It is also the precursor to hitting moving targets at distance and to learning the application of power and the accuracy needed for the next skills that are derived from the instep drive.

After players have mastered the basics of the instep drive, demonstrating that they can use proper form to kick the ball effectively with the “top of the foot covered by the shoe laces,” they may be introduced to the driven pass.  This calls for players to essentially kick the ball to a teammate as far as they can, using the instep drive.  To advance the progression from the standing instep drive, in addition to requesting the addition of power for distance, coaches need to require ball movement on the part of the passer and player movement on the part of the receiver.  Young players may not have the leg strength to initially get the desired distance from the ball, but they should be continually challenged to attempt the pass in order to increase the distance the ball travels. 

The recommended progression for introducing the driven pass is:

 Review the Instep Drive

Demonstration

Pairs at Distance Kicking Stationary Ball

Pairs at Distance Kicking Moving Ball

Instruction on Leading a Receiver

Pairs at Distance Kicking Moving Ball to Moving Receiver

Pairs Kicking Moving Ball to Receiver Moving Away

 Review the Instep Drive

Coaches should quickly go over the mechanics of the instep drive, including the approach to the ball, placement of the non-kicking foot, balance, leg swing, ankle down-and-locked, toes curled, striking the ball in the center, and follow-through.  Emphasis should be placed on the non-kicking foot pointed at the receiver and striking the ball smartly with the instep.

 Demonstration

Coaches should demonstrate that the inside-of-the-foot pass, while being very accurate, is limited in how far it can go and that the instep drive is used to overcome this deficiency.  Accordingly, the coach should set up an assistant coach at distance and perform the sequence to be used in performing the “driven pass,” also called the “instep pass:” Pairs at Distance Kicking Stationary Ball, Pairs at Distance Kicking Moving Ball, Instruction on Leading a Receiver, Pairs at Distance Kicking Moving Ball to Moving Receiver, and Pairs Kicking Moving Ball to Receiver Moving Away.  Emphasis should be added that, while players are expected to add power to their kicks, it is still most important that they get the ball to their teammate.  In addition, it should be mentioned that the players will be asked to use both legs equally.

 Pairs at Distance Kicking Stationary Ball

Set up two players with a ball at enough distance apart to allow for long kicks, based on the age and leg strength of the players.  Players are to first kick stationary balls back-and-forth, trying to achieve distance while sending the ball to the feet of their teammate. Players may start by kicking with their dominant leg, but then they must be asked to switch legs in order to train both legs equally.

 Pairs at Distance Kicking Moving Ball

The training above is repeated, but with the kickers dribbling the ball before making the pass.  The dribbling may be slowly at first but then quickened as success is achieved.  When the ball is moving forward just before being struck, allowance must be made for the plant foot to be in the correct place as the ball moves into the position to be struck.  This may be demonstrated by showing that the plant foot is placed beside the ball as the ball rolls past it into position. Distance is helped by a firm plant foot, a full follow through, and encouragement that the ball can be kicked harder.

 Instruction on Leading a Receiver

Coaches should then demonstrate again what it will be like to pass to a running receiver, introducing the most important concept of “leading the receiver,” or “passing to the space” where the receiver will be when the ball is received.  Players should be instructed how to take a quick peek at the receiver, point their non-kicking foot to the space where the receiver will be, pick the proper spot on the ball to kick, and then see their foot contact the ball at that spot (“eyes on the ball”).

 Pairs at Distance Kicking Moving Ball to Moving Receiver

Players are then asked to perform the “tick-tock” drill, where the receiver runs left or right to the passer, but this time at distance.  (This drill was included with the introduction to the push pass.)  The passers are to dribble first, before passing.   Again, both legs should be used.

 Pairs Kicking Moving Ball to Receiver Moving Away

With players still in pairs, an initial receiver may be designated to start approximately 10-yards in front of and five-yards to the side of the passer and then run forward.  As the receiver starts his run, the passer is to dribble and then kick a driven pass to the space out in front of the receiver so that the receiver can run on to the ball.  If desired, this can then be done facing the goal, so that the receiver may end the pass with a shot.  The players are to be rotated so that each one is a receiver.  Again, both legs need to be used.

 Soccer Coaching Tips

       On their run up to the ball players may find it easier to obtain a better result by making their last stride to their plant foot a little longer, thereby increasing the momentum transferred to their leg swing.

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John Harves

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