Soccer passing is the most important of all youth soccer skills. It is essential for any position on the pitch. All soccer passes – short, long, curved, crosses – have a common basis for achieving direction and speed.
But before we go into how to pass a soccer ball, stop for a second and think about what we are actually trying to achieve here. The key word is PASS. We are wanting to create a free-flowing pass – naturally- where we are swinging our foot effortlessly through the ball so that it goes in the direction that we intend.
If you only remember one thing about passing, remember this:
- We aim to pass the ball to a teammate who is in a better position than we are.
This means that we know when to pass – whenever a teammate is in a better position – whenever a teammate is unmarked or has space to move. This means also that we need to know where our nearest team mates are on the pitch at all times. We need to be able to ‘see’ the playing field and know who is free to receive the ball from us at any moment. This awareness is a fundamental skill that we will develop over time and it is something that we will work on in a later exercise. For now though, let’s do…
Practice making short passes to a friend or against a wall with a full-sized ball. Look at the ball and stroke it with the side of your foot. Aim to make the ball roll along the ground. Watch the ball closely as it moves towards the target.
Which direction does the ball spin? Clockwise? Anti-clockwise? How fast is it moving?
With each pass you make, focus on stroking the ball in a smooth motion. With each pass, vary how hard you stroke the ball and vary the length of your follow through. Notice the difference in how the ball moves with each variation you make.
Get a tennis ball. Yes that’s right – a small tennis ball. Find a wall. Pass and control the ball against the wall. Do five passes on each foot and then slowly do more. Try it close to the wall and then further away. Over time, you want to be doing more with your ‘weaker’ foot.
Practice this 100 times. The aim of this exercise is to develop both feet so that you don’t have a ‘weaker’ foot. Most won’t bother to do this kind of training. But those will who want to be good at soccer.
Once you know what kicking a tennis ball feels like, take the time to practice this skill in your mind in the same way as the soccer skills 1.
Practice making short passes with the inside and outside of your foot with both balls. Do these two soccer passing drills every other day for 3 weeks. You can also imagine doing these soccer skills in your mind whenever you can – while in a class at school or in front of the tv .
- Pass the ball to a teammate who is in a better position than we are.
- Focus on stroking the ball in a smooth motion with the inside and outside of your feet.
That’s it. Once you’ve got the hang of that, move on to the art of dribbling…
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