How to perfectly pass a soccer ball
Passing is the heartbeat of football.
Without it, sport would be unrecognizable.
This article (and the accompanying videos) aim to help coaches and parents of young footballers develop their basic passing skills in an appropriate and effective manner.
Even the most prolific playmakers in the world had to start by mastering the basics.
Basic passing technique
The basic passing technique is pretty straightforward, as shown in this video.
One foot will be used to kick the ball, while the other foot will be used to maintain the connection with the ground. The latter is often called “vegetal foot”.
The foot of the sole should be placed at about the same level as the ball.
The kicking foot should swing and make contact with the ball with a stiff ankle.
By “stiff ankle” we mean that the foot should not be fragile. Rather, it should remain relatively stable throughout contact and follow-up.
As for the contact point on the foot itself, the inside of the foot offers the most control for shorter passes.
For longer passes, the upper part of the foot (where the laces are usually located) can provide a good combination of power and precision.
As for where to hit the ball, the lower you hit the ball, the more loft the ball will have.
The higher you hit the ball, the lower the trajectory will generally be.
Players can sit 5 to 15 meters apart to practice short passes.
Staying on guard between passes can help players stay sharp and engaged.
Players can start with a light to medium speed and progress gradually to high speed passes.
A perfect pass has enough velocity to hit a player quickly, but not enough for him to have a hard time controlling it.
To help create balanced players, they should practice an equal number of passes with both feet.
The receiving teammate should focus on “softening” the incoming pass to keep it close to his body.
Trap, Thrust, Drill Pass
This drill adds a bit of dynamic movement to performing basic passing and trapping while adding light work on foot skills.
Have two young soccer players stand 10-15 meters apart.
Each player should have a cone a meter or two in front of them.
When Player 1 passes to Player 2, Player 2 must trap the ball, then use the outside of their foot to push it to the other side of the cone, then use that same foot to return a pass to their partner.
While Player 2 traps and pushes the ball, Player 1 must “point” to the other side of the cone to receive the ball.
Repeat the same sequence with the first player trapping, pushing and passing back to the first player.
Keep your ankle locked as you deliver the pass. Don’t have a fragile foot.
Once both players have totaled 25 passes, stop and settle in so that they are now using their opposite foot to pass.
How Loft Le Ballon
Sometimes playing a ball close to the ground just doesn’t make sense.
Maybe the intended recipient is far enough away, or there is an advocate (or more advocates in your path).
Maybe you want to put the ball in the box to give your teammate a chance for a header.
Whatever the reason, knowing how to lob the ball is a valuable skill for soccer players.
This video explains how to play the lofted or “flighted” ball.
The technique is quite similar to a normal pass, but the point of contact on the ball is very low (almost as if the foot is sinking under the ball) and the shoulders and chest are pulled back on contact.
Players should remember to “lean back” when hitting the ball to produce more loft.
Using the lower part of your laces as a point of contact usually results in better leverage and loft.
Practice playing with both feet on lobed balls from different distances to become a more productive playmaker.
Control the balls in the air
Something that a lot of young footballers struggle with controlling the balls that come into the air.
Whether they’re looking to pass, shoot, or tune that ball, many young players just don’t have the timing and / or foot-eye coordination to shoot it.
The only way to improve in this area is to practice.
This video details a simple “aerial touches” exercise that can help young players become familiar with the game of balls that come in the air.
Start with the two players 3-6 yards apart.
A teammate will throw an arched ball at knee height.
The receiver will use the inside of their foot to make contact with the ball, keeping their ankle locked.
The goal is for the ball to be directed towards the thrower’s chest.
The thrower will catch the ball and then throw the ball to the receiver’s opposite foot.
Once the receiver gets the hang of it, it can tiptoe bounce between keys.
As players get more comfortable, the distance between them may increase.
Be sure to perform an even number of touches with both feet, with partners switching roles between sets.
A progression of this drill is to perform it 6-15 yards from a goal and have the catcher throw the pitch into the net.