Sometimes a small act can have big consequences. A simple soccer pass can have a devastating outcome and a series of simple passes can win the soccer game. Soccer doesn’t have to be complicated like a set of stepovers or a stop turn, it can be basic and the beauty of it is that all a player needs is the knowledge to do it.
The two most important techniques in football are also the two most used – controlling the ball and passing the ball. And more than 80% of the time, when a player receives the ball they will pass to a team mate.
Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard has built his whole game on the ability to thread a pass. His trademark long balls can split defences wide open and create space for an attacker to work in.
But he is equally good at playing the short game, using the ball to take out defenders or to put an overlapping winger in behind the defence.
If every team got its players to use passes with purpose they would be much more successful in creating goalscoring opportunities. And by the same token, nothing will destroy a team more than inaccurate passing.
So here’s a move that will help players practise passing so that it comes to them naturally during a match.
How to set it up:
- Mark out an area 30 yards long by 10 yards wide using cones.
- Place four players around the area, one on each side.
- Use only one ball.
- The players on the short ends pass long and short.
- The players on the long sides must move to receive but can only pass short.
- Get the players moving the ball around in triangles, anticipating where the next player will run to.
- Mark out zones so the players on the longer sides are given some guidance of where to move to when they receive the ball.
- If it is a short pass, they run into the end zone nearest the passing player.
- For a long pass they are in the zone furthest from the passing player.
Why this works:
The way to familiarise your players in passing with purpose is to get them passing long and short. Players need to learn not only how to pass well, but to move into space so it is easier for the player on the ball to find them. The passing must be very accurate or the exercise breaks down.
In a soccer match situation, coaches will often stand on the side of the pitch and see situations where a simple pass, long or short, could open up the opposition defence, but the opportunity is missed.
Practising the basics in a quick-moving scenario such as this will perfect technique as well as decision-making ability, so get your soccer players doing this exercise to make them into mini Frank Lampards.
You can set up a few areas like this so the whole team is passing and moving at the same time.
This session originally appeared in Soccer Coach Weekly.
For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.