Soccer coaching tips on playing diagonal passes from deep positions

Your players don't always need to be in an advanced position on the wing in order to deliver an effective cross into the penalty box.

There are many advantages to be gained from playing diagonal passes from deep positions.

In any match there is often space between the last defender and the goalkeeper so teaching your players to deliver the ball at the right moment (and before the defence has retreated fully) can be extremely valuable if you want to take advantage of this space.

The attacking players can affect the speed at which defenders fill the space by making diagonal runs to complement the diagonal pass of the ball.

This causes

  • The defence to be slower in reacting, so it is slower in retreating.
  • Central defenders to be moved out of their normal recovery line.
  • Space to be created between the two central defenders, offering room for attacking midfielders to run into.

Exploit the space

The attacking team can exploit the space by moving between the defenders when receiving a ball played into this key area.

The best chance for attacking players to get to the ball is to come from deep because the central defenders are usually moving to mark the wings. If the defenders are watching the ball, they will not see the movement of the opposition players.

Here's a session that rehearses these principles and outlines the value of the long cross behind the backline.

How to set it up

  • Use half of your regular-size pitch.
  • You'll need four attackers, three defenders and a goalkeeper.

Getting started

  • In anticipating the delivery, the defenders should, at no time, be allowed to stand in the key space in front of the keeper, or this will defeat the object of the practice.
  • Serve the ball to one of the four attackers. These players advance upfield towards the three defenders.
  • Nominate one attacker to play the through pass while the other forwards split the defenders.
  • One attacker advances from deep to run into the space the ball is played into.
  • Observe the quality of the pass and the runs.
  • Ensure that, if successful, an attacker finishes with a shot at goal.
  • Restart the move from the halfway line.
  • Develop the mechanics further by adding extra defending players who challenge the player with the ball.

Why this works

Although performed with attackers in mind, this move rehearses defenders in the dangers of failing to marshal the space in behind. Playing out this scenario makes players aware of threats, and for many players it may be the first time they have practised passing into space rather than to feet.

If performed well, the goalscoring rewards will quickly make the experiment worthwhile.

This session originally appeared in Soccer Coach Weekly.

For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.

Soccer coaching tips


Improve your soccer training skills. Sign up for a FREE weekly email, full of simple proven tips, advice and drills.

"I look forward to every issue because it is concise and filled with great information. In times like this, with very busy schedules, it is invaluable. I highly recommend it."
Victor Gascon, Coach, USA







Please note that Better Soccer Coaching takes your privacy very seriously. We will never rent or sell your email address to any third party.






Get our FREE weekly coaching tips email






Receive GREAT coaching tips to help you become
a better soccer coach, straight to your inbox!

Please note that Better
Soccer Coaching
takes your privacy very seriously. We will never rent or sell your email address to any third party

Find out more

Recommended:





Proud Corporate Member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America