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Intermediate Passing – The Give-and-Go

INTERMEDIATE PASSING – THE GIVE-AND-GO

The “give-and-go” is the most basic passing combination in soccer, involving two teammates and two passes to get around, or “beat,” a single defender.  In general, the player with the ball dribbles at the defender straight on, passes to a teammate who has come toward the defender at a right angle, sprints around the defender, and then immediately receives a return pass from his teammate.  This passing combination is also known as a “wall pass,” the “one-two,” or the first introduction to two-versus-one, “2 v 1.”  This passing combination is similar to ones used in basketball, ice hockey, field hockey and lacrosse.

The term “wall pass” is historically recognized to come from urban “street soccer” where the dribbler would bounce the ball diagonally off the wall of a nearby building in order to receive the rebound on the other side of an opponent.  (“Wall Pass” is less-commonly used by today’s youth.)  The term “one-two” recognizes the nature of the first and second passes involved and the speed with which the passes are accomplished.  It is also an oral communications call to set up and perform the skill.  “2 v 1” represents the tactical possibilities of what two attackers might do against one defender, which includes the give-and-go.

The give-and-go is practical from two important perspectives. First, when performed properly, it advances the ball while reducing the risk of a defender taking the ball away with a successful tackle against the dribbler.  Second, it is an extremely effective maneuver to beat a last defender close to the attacking goal in order to get off a clean shot.    Together with the back pass, the give-and-go is a basic passing option that should be introduced as soon as possible to beginning players, usually around U8. The give-and-go is actually fairly complicated, involving knowledgeable thought, correct ball skills, and precision timing.

As with any pass, the give-and-go involves two people, the passer and the receiver, working together, both of whom must perform their roles correctly in order for the passes to be successful.  Usually, the first receiver initiates the action by recognizing the possibility for a give-and-go to be used, and then moving to the correct location to receive a pass from the dribbler.  It is also at this time that the first receiver may call for the “one-two.”  If the dribbler wishes to take advantage of this option, he must then promptly make the first pass.  The initial receiver then becomes the next passer and he must immediately return the ball.  The recommended progression for teaching the give-and-go is:

Ensure that players are used to passing and receiving in pairs

Ensure that players know and are successful with “one touch” passing

Demonstration of the Give-and-Go

Identifying the passer and receiver

Setting the distance between players

Establishing the receivers’ responsibilities

Establishing the passers’ responsibilities

Performing the passes with a cone as “defender”

Performing the passes with a passive defender

Performing the passes with an active defender

Add movement on the part of the initial receiver

Ensure that players are used to passing and receiving in pairs

Coaches should review the Inside of the Foot (Push) Pass and Receive with their players.

#11 - Inside of the Foot

#11 – Inside of the Foot

Having done so, coaches may perform the following activities involving two players with one ball per pair in open space (using “two touch”):

–       Players move forward to receive and pass, then backward to re-set (pass right, receive left; then pass left, receive right)

–       One player moves side-to-side (pass right, receive left; then pass left, receive right) while the other is stationary {a.k.a. as in the “Tick-Tock” drill}; switch players

If desired, coaches may then perform the following activities, also involving two players with one ball per pair, all pairs in a confined space (approx. 35-yard x 35-yard grid):

–       Players dribble and pass while moving (pass right, receive left; pass left, receive right); players are to avoid running into each other or letting their balls collide

–       Same as before, but add cones or stationary parents as further distracters

Ensure that players know and are successful with “one touch”

Introduce and demonstrate “one-touch” inside-of-the-foot passing.  Have players first perform the passing as stationary pairs, with one ball per pair.  With appropriate success, coaches should then have the players perform the same drills as above, but using only one-touch passes/returns.

Demonstration of the Give-and-Go

Demonstrating the give-and-go should be done with three coaches or two coaches and a player assistant.  It is strongly recommended that the three demonstrators get together and practice in advance of the presentation.  Position a player on the field.  Indicate that he is a defender and, for the purpose of the demonstration, he is originally not going to move.  Starting approximately 15 yards in front of the defender, the coach dribbles toward the defender with the assistant coach standing at least 10 yards away from the defender, perpendicular to (90-degrees to the left of) the path of the coach.  The assistant coach states loudly, “One-two.”  Well before reaching the defender, the coach makes a firm, right-footed, inside-of-the-foot pass to the feet of the assistant coach.  The coach then immediately sprints around the right side of the defender and receives a one-touch, left-footed, inside-of-the-foot, return pass from the assistant coach.  (The coach should  then demonstrate coming back, using the other feet.)  The coach should then emphasize the four most important things to do when performing the give-and-go:

  1. The dribbler must get close enough to the defender to be sure the defender is engaged.
  2. The initial pass is made with the right foot if the receiver is to the left and the left foot if the receiver is to the right.
  3. The dribbler is to run around the defender to the opposite side from the receiver.
  4. The receiver must get his body positioned properly to one-touch the ball back to the initial passer, using the left foot if the passer is to his right and the right foot if the passer is to his left.

All four of these actions can be demonstrated with the defender going “live.”

The coach should then emphasize the four most important things NOT to do when performing the give-and-go:

  1. The dribbler must not get too close to the defender.  The defender will take the ball.
  2. The dribbler must not hesitate.  He must make a firm pass to his receiver’s feet and then sprint past the defender.
  3. The dribbler must not make a “blind” initial pass.  The passer must see his receiver and kick the ball right to him.  The pass must not “lead” the receiver in any way.
  4. The receiver must not get too close to the defender.

All four of these actions can be demonstrated with the defender going “live.”

Identifying the passer and receiver

Set up enough cones in advance of the practice, to be used as the initial “stationary defenders,” equal to the number of pairs of players available.  Establish pairs of players.  Identify within each pair who will be the first passer (dribbler) and who will be the first receiver.  Set the passers up 15 yards in front of the “defender” cones.

Setting the distance between players

Set the receivers 10 yards at 90-degrees (right angles) to the path of the dribblers.  Young players will not inherently know what 10 yards or right angles look like.  Coaches may set up discs to identify the proper starting distance and location.

Establishing the receiver’s responsibilities

Inform the receivers that they are to stay at their location and not to move except to position their body properly for the return pass.  Inform the receivers that they can move to get the ball if it is not passed directly to their feet.  As soon as the dribblers start toward their cones, the receivers are to tell their partners, “One-two.”  This must be loud enough for their partners to hear it, but no more.

Establishing the passer’s responsibilities

Inform the passers that they are to dribble toward their cone and that it represents a defender.  The dribblers should never make it to the cone.  As soon as they hear their teammates’ call, the dribblers are to firmly make an inside-of-the-foot pass to the feet of their receivers.

Performing the passes with a cone as “defender”

Demonstrate that the players are to make the passes going one direction and then reverse the process coming back, i.e., initial pass with the right foot, receiver returns with the left; coming back, initial pass with the left foot, receiver returns with the right.  After approximately six times through, switch the passer and receiver roles of the players and perform the passes again.

Example:    (For a larger view, right click over the graphic and select “Open Link in New Window.”)

easy Sport-Graphics - Soccer

Give & Go Example with Cone

Performing the passes with a passive defender

Set up groups of three so that one player replaces the cone as a passive defender.  Designate the passer and receiver roles and have them perform the passes.  Demonstrate that the defender turns around when the initial dribbler comes back from the other side.  Rotate the players so that each performs the three roles.

Performing the pass with an active defender

Using the same groups of three, indicate that the defender can now be active and have the passers and receivers perform the passes.  Rotate the players so that each performs the three roles.  The distances between the players may need to be increased.  The coach may wish for the defender to be limited to one or two steps, at first, and then be allowed to go “full live.”

Add movement on the part of the initial receiver

Finally, demonstrate that, in a match, the receiver will actually be moving into position from a short distance away.  Accordingly, set up the last drill above with the receiver moving into position from approximately 10 yards away, starting his run at the same time the dribbler starts his.  Again, the coach may place another disc on the ground to represent the starting position.

Soccer Coaching Tips

–       It should become clear to the players that the passer and the receiver can’t get too close to the defender and that timing is critical.  This may be pointed out by the coach.

–       Receivers have to get their hips turned properly to return the one-touch pass.

–       It may be pointed out that, ultimately, players should be able to recognize give-and-go opportunities without the “call” having to be made, just by making eye contact.

–       Point out that “one good pass deserves another.”  Although the first receiver ultimately will have the option to turn and head off in another direction, the initial passer should be rewarded for making the pass in the first place by getting the ball back with the return pass.

–       If coaches find that using the analogy of “bouncing the ball off a wall” is successful with young players, then the receiver/passer position may be referred to as being the “wall.”

–       In a match, there must be sufficient space behind the defender to receive the pass and still be able to perform the next action.  Coaches may put another cone or live defender in place to demonstrate this.

–       At the earliest ages, young players may simply not be able to perform the one-touch return pass properly.  This does not mean that coaches cannot introduce the give-and-go.  The coach may perform the receiver/passer role as the players pass through.

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John Harves

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