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Intermediate Passing – The Outside of the Foot Pass

INTERMEDIATE PASSING – THE OUTSIDE OF THE FOOT PASS

The outside of the foot pass in soccer is a modification to the instep drive kick, using an instep-drive technique, but contacting the ball with that portion of the foot just to the outside of the shoelaces.  This is done by bringing the little toe down, by rotating the foot at the ankle, and turning (abducting) the foot to the inside.  Many beginning players have a very difficult time understanding the concept of the outside of the foot pass because they think that it should be the “opposite” of the inside of the foot pass.  As such, they incorrectly tend to try to unnaturally swing their lower leg at the knee to the outside at a 90-degree angle, with the sole of their foot parallel to the ground.  Accordingly, it would almost be better if the outside of the foot pass was introduced as the “outside of the instep” pass.

The outside of the foot pass is usually a short-range pass with the ball sent along the ground.  Ultimately, this skill is a precursor for airborne bending balls used in both passing and shooting, but upon first being introduced it is better seen as a straight-line pass with no spin, good pace, and proper accuracy to the receiver.  The pass is often used in situations similar to a give-and-go with the inside of the foot however, instead of approaching the defender straight-on, the dribbler initiates the action by feinting slightly to one side of the defender, opposite from the prospective receiver.  The defender will have a difficult time knowing what the dribbler is going to do.  If the defender turns toward the dribbler, the pass can be made quickly to the receiver.  If the defender turns toward the prospective receiver, the dribbler can accelerate past the defender.  If the pass is made, the passer still accelerates past the defender to possibly receive a return pass.  The following progression is recommended:

Demonstration

Basic Kick

Triangles

Outside of the Foot Give-and-Go

Dribble, with Cone as “Defender,” Pass

Dribble, with Stationary Defender, Pass

Dribble, with Live Defender, Pass

Demonstration

To execute an outside of the foot pass, the dribbler’s plant foot should be pointed at approximately a 45-degree angle from the path of the ball to the intended target, and placed beside the ball approximately 10 inches away, at the time the ball is struck.  A regular instep-drive-style swing of the lower leg, originating from the hip, is then used to strike the center of the ball with the middle of the foot, just outside of the instep.  An appropriate follow-through is then used.  Beginning players have been shown to have a hard time understanding and implementing the 45-degree angle concept, so using pairs with a ball, passing back-and-forth, is not recommended for very long.  Instead, after demonstrating the proper approach to the ball, the proper angle of the foot, the striking surface of the foot, and the location on the ball to be contacted, coaches should set up triangles and then a give-and-go-style demonstration for the outside of the foot pass.  (Review Intermediate Passing – The Give-and-Go.)

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 right of) the path of the coach.  Before reaching the defender, the coach makes a slight feint left and then sends a firm, right-footed, outside-of-the-foot pass to the feet of the assistant coach.  The coach then immediately sprints around the left side of the defender and receives a return pass from the assistant coach.  (With the defender turning around to face the coach, the coach should then demonstrate coming back, using the left foot to make the pass to the left.)  The coach should then emphasize the four most important things to do when performing an outside-of-the-foot 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 right and the left foot if the receiver is to the left.

3. The dribbler is to run around the defender to the opposite side from the receiver.

4. The plant foot is essentially pointed just to the outside of the defender in order to create the 45-degree angle to the receiver.

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

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

1. The dribbler must not get too close to the defender.  Otherwise, 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 then be demonstrated with the defender going “live.”

 Basic Kick

The coach should demonstrate the basic placement of the plant foot, turn of the kicking foot, and contact points of the outside of the instep and the ball.  Players in pairs should briefly pass the ball back-and-forth attempting the proper technique.

#8 - Right Instep

#8 – Right Instep

Triangles

For a group of three players each, the coach should set up three disks forming a triangle with 15-yard sides.  A cone should be placed in the middle of the triangle.  With one ball per group and players placed outside each disk facing the cone, the player with the ball initiates the action by dribbling at his disk in the direction of the cone.  Before reaching the disk, the dribbler then passes to the player to his right with a right-footed outside of the foot pass.  Each player in turn does the same a number of times around.  The direction is then reversed so that a left-footed outside of the foot pass is performed to the receiver to the left.

Outside of the Foot Give-and-Go:

Dribble, with Cone as “Defender,” Pass

Using a cone as a 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 right; coming back, initial pass with the left foot, receiver returns with the left.  After approximately six times through, switch the passer and receiver roles of the players and perform the passes again.  Set up as many stations as necessary to engage all of the players.

Dribble, with Stationary Defender, Pass

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.

Dribble, with Live Defender, Pass

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.”

Soccer Coaching Tips

This is not a “flick” pass.  A flick pass involves the full turning of the ankle.

Body lean forward and over the ball helps keep the ball on the ground.

Ball spin or a curved path is usually evidence of the ankle not being locked.

Landing on the kicking foot is usually evidence of the plant foot being too close to the ball.

Inability to get the ball to the receiver tends to indicate that the toe, ankle or foot is not turned enough.

An unnatural kicking motion or loss of balance is usually evidence that the plant foot is too far away from the ball.

 

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