Coach your players to pass around an opponent

There is a direct relationship between a team's overall success and the total number of passes and its passing success rate. Using small groups of three, show your players how to work on passing skills and use them to get past their opponent, as well as passing to a team mate.

Good teams pass more, and good teams pass successfully. Your team can be successful passers if you show them how to do it. It will soon become second nature and if they are passing, they will stop their opponents from passing so much.

Accurate passing creates time and space

Practise playing your midfielders down the touchline working to create space for themselves on the wings. If they are tightly marked, they can combine with their supporting midfielder for a “short-short-long” ball; if they are marked loosely, they can turn with the ball and combine with one of the central strikers.

image in 2 parts shows players practising passing with one-twos

Tips to get players passing

In the diagram you can see the two ways I coach my players to beat opponents. Quick one-twos and clever running in both cases leave the opponent behind and your players are advancing on the opposition penalty area.

A good tip is, if you are an under-7s coach, give your players plenty of encouragement and let them experiment with their passing. It may be the first time they think in terms of passing to beat a player rather than just passing to a player who is open.

When you coach older kids, you can talk them through it and just watch. Often they will pick up the skills straight away, show them the diagram and arrange them into threes to practise a give-and-go drill.

Key soccer coaching tip: Help your players work on movement and passing accuracy.

Click here for a soccer drill to get your players extending their passing skills.