Intermediate Passing – General



It takes two teammates, a receiver and a passer, to complete an effective pass in soccer.  The majority of the time, it is the receiver who, by freeing himself from a defender or by otherwise making a run into open space, most often initiates the action for a successful pass.  At any given time that a player is in possession of the ball, his teammates are obligated to move into locations that provide as many options as possible for the ball-handler to complete a pass.  New coaches tend to focus on the skills of the player making the pass without realizing how critical it is to get the potential receivers into the proper positions on the field first, before the pass is attempted.

Passing is absolutely critical to the game of soccer.  Dribbling will only get a player so far before he is surrounded and unceremoniously has the ball taken away.  Receivers must be taught how to make runs and to establish proper positions to set up passes.  Passers must be taught how to get the ball to the receiver.  In general, the steps for the completion of a successful pass are:

–       Potential receivers run into locations to effectively receive a pass

–       Passer sees receivers and decides who to pass to and how

–       Passer executes the pass, taking into account what needs to be done with the ball

–       Receiver properly collects and controls the ball

Potential receivers should set up short, medium, long, and backpass options for each teammate when they have possession of the ball.  This requires constant movement, which requires excellent fitness, because the player with the ball and his position on the field changes every few seconds.  If properly set up by potential receivers, the types of passes available to a ball-handler may include, but are not limited to:

–       Personal pass

–       Back pass

–       Give-and-Go

–       Square pass

–       Diagonal pass

–       Half-volley

–       Full volley

–       Side volley

–       Driven (long) pass

–       Lofted pass

–       Chips and Lobs

–       Centering pass

–       Crosses

–       Through pass (Piercing pass; Tunnel pass)

–       Toe poke

–       Back heel

–       Head pass

Considerations which need to be made on how to execute the pass on the part of the passer include, but are not limited to:

–     The direction of the pass

–       Inside-of-the-foot or instep

–       Outside of the foot

–       On the ground or in the air

–       Bending the ball

–       How hard to strike the ball (pace/weight)

–       Distance involved

–       Leading the receiver to space or passing to the feet (or body)

–       Timing

–       Setting up the receiver

–       Setting up defenders

–       How many touches to use

Other factors involved in passing include, but are not limited to:

–       The concepts of providing “service” to a potential receiver

–       Receivers setting up diagonals, triangles, and combination passes

–       The overall vision of the field by the ball handler

–       A potential “Order of Passing,” such as looking long to short, then back

–       The precision and accuracy of the pass

–       Proper technique and body position for both passer and receiver

–       Movement on the part of the passer after the pass is made

–       Being able to perform under pressure

–       Being able to pass on the move

In addition, free kicks and other forms of restarts, including throw-ins, are also forms of passes and need to be recognized as such.

Soccer Coaching Tips:

–       The introduction of new skills should not be cause for breakdowns in proper technique for passing.  Emphasis should be maintained on the original basics, such as placement of the non-kicking foot, proper body position, good balance, and follow-through.  Don’t allow errors or poor technique to creep in.  Continue to correct improper basic technique, as necessary.

–       It remains extremely important that all receivers and passers be able to perform all skills with both feet.

–       The distance which can be covered by an inside-of-the-foot push pass increases with age and strength.  Players need to be taught when to switch from an inside-of-the-foot pass to an instep-drive pass in order to ensure that the ball gets to the receiver.

– Mind the “weight” of the pass.  Do not lead a teammate into a collision or send the ball out of bounds.

© Copyright, John C. Harves