How to Pass a Soccer Ball
Passing a soccer ball is a crucial part of soccer – if you want to become a better soccer player, you should learn about passing. It’s arguably the most simple of things, and the best players make it look easy. There are certain things you should consider when thinking about passing a soccer ball:
- How is your body position?
- How close is the ball to your body
- How close is the person you want to pass the ball to?
- Is the person you want to pass the ball to under pressure?
- Where abouts on the soccer field is the person you want to pass the ball to?
Without being able to pass a soccer ball, you will never effectively contribute to a team at any level of play, even if you’re a goalkeeper. The modern game of soccer has developed so much that Goalkeepers at the top level now use their feet three times as much as their hands. Now, imagine what would happen if those Goalkeepers couldn’t effectively pass a soccer ball – would you want to pass a ball back to a Goalkeeper who didn’t have the ability to pass it back to yourself or a team-mate?
Different Types of Passes in Soccer
Often the simplest pass is the best option. Soccer is a simple game, let’s not over complicate it by trying to make it harder than it already is. Trying the extravagant can be great at the right time, but if a short pass is on, and you try something extravagant and it doesn’t come off, you may lose possession of the ball and give the opposition a counter-attacking opportunity. If you watch Arsenal or Barcelona, you’ll notice they play lots of short passes – they work the ball around the field very well, and almost every player on the field are very good passers.
Part of becoming a better soccer player is knowing which kind of pass to play at the right time. Short passes require us to use the inside of our foot. If the player you want to pass it to is close to you, don’t pass it as hard as you can. Obviously, the ball needs to reach it’s destination, but you should consider how easy it’s going to be for your team mate to receive the ball and then make his pass. The harder you pass the ball at your team mate, the harder it’s going to be for them to receive the ball. You should deliver a firm pass on the ground using the inside of your foot.
Long or Driven Passes
Long or driven passes are useful for switching the field of play. If there is a player on the other side of the soccer field who we can pass the ball to without needing to loft the ball, then we need to do so. These kind of passes require using a different surface of the foot than short passes because they require more power.
When thinking about playing a long or driven pass, you should consider who you’re playing the ball to. Switching the field of play with a long pass is often a tactical move because the opposition players have to readjust their defensive positioning. If you want to become a better soccer player you need to know when and how to use a long and driven pass.
Before playing a long or driven pass, think about the advantages of doing so. Are you giving your team an advantage by playing a long ball, and is the player you’re passing the ball to in a position to be effective. The ball needs to be played with a lot more power to reach a team mate so we need to use the laces of our soccer cleats to generate the power. The ball should be just in front of you, your ankle should be locked just like it would for shooting, your should strike the middle of the ball, and your head and knee need to be over the ball when striking (otherwise the ball will be in the air). Remember to follow through – stopping right after you’ve kicked the ball will generate way less power then necessary.
Lofted passes are a great alternative to a long, driven pass. If the opposition have positioned themselves well, they will have players denying space so if any driven passes are played, they are able to intercept them. In this case, a lofted ball would be a great choice.
David Beckham is arguably the best passer of a lofted ball in the modern game of soccer. He is able to switch the field of play with such a precise lofted pass that his team mate barely needs to break stride or take an extra touch. This precision didn’t come easy, it came with years of training hard and putting in the extra hours on the practice field – something which every player needs to do if they wish to become a better soccer player.
When playing a lofted pass to a team mate you need to assess the risk of playing such a ball. For instance, is there a short, easier pass which you could play to a closer team mate which would see your team keeping possession of the ball? Giving away possession of the ball unnecessarily with an attempted lofted pass may not see you gain favor with your team-mates or coaches. You should also make the choice of who to play a lofted pass to – is that player under pressure? Will they be closed down immediately after they have received the ball? Such decisions need to be made before the ball has been played.
Before attempting lofted passes you should work on your technique. The technique for a lofted pass is similar to that of a driven ball, but instead of having your head and knee over the ball, you should lean back. Instead of striking the ball in the middle, you should look to get underneath the ball when you strike it so the ball gets played in the air instead of on the ground.
Just as with all aspects of soccer, practice makes perfect. A good way to practice lofted passes is on an empty soccer field. Using cones, create different size areas or targets in one half of the field and place them on both the left and right side. Now, gather a selection of balls and take them to midway in the other half of the field. Practice playing lofted passes into the areas or targets you created. If you do this consistently your lofted passes should see a marked improvement.
One More Thing:
If you want to become a better soccer player you should practice all of these passing types with both your weaker and stronger foot. A soccer player who is comfortable passing the ball with both feet is far more of an asset to their team than a player who is only comfortable passing the ball on their stronger foot.