Saturday, November 5, 2011


In a very concrete way, dribbling skill is essential to good passing and receiving. Dribbling is a series of micro-passes and collections; without this skill, the player is unable to hold the ball, and is forced to pass it at the wrong time or lose it. Furthermore, the feints used in dribbling can be used to disguise passing intentions.

So by developing the individual art of dribbling, the coach is naturally preparing his players for the team art of passing.

Since soccer is a team game, the single most important element in team success is probably the level of passing and receiving. Technically, successful passing requires skillful collection, disguise, proper pace, and accuracy; tactically, it depends on more deception, quality support, creation of space, communication and variety.

In youth coaching, our technical training should concentrate on the basic types of passes and receptions, while our tactical training should teach the concept of support an basic small group tactics. Good training integrates both technique and tactics!

The inside-of-the-foot, in passing and receiving, is basic to success in soccer, and is used more than any other technique. Train your players to master it with either foot. At the fundamental stage, stress the standing foot pointing to the target, the knee bent, the toes raised, the foot striking the ball just above the midpoint and the follow-through.

The key to proper weight (pace or speed) of the pass lies in the follow-through, the result of a long stroke. Poor passes are often the result of short, choppy, strokes, with no follow-through. The shorter the stroke the smaller the "sweet spot". The sharper timing that this requires is best left to highly skilled players operating at higher speeds. At earlier stages in their lives, they used the longer strokes. With youth, emphasize the follow-through.

At the match -related stage, first add movement, then add token defensive pressure; perhaps a 2v1 in a grid, with the defender playing with at 50% effort. Encourage the use of the weaker foot. Notice how the players use their eye; they should look up before passing or receiving the ball, and look at the ball while passing or receiving. This is important, as it leads to vision and communication.

Players can then see the runs made by their teammates as well as their opponents. Hands signals, such as pointing where you want the ball, can also be effective.

When players are ready for the match condition stage, increased speed and defensive pressure. If you want to keep the 2v1 format, make game of it by scoring a point for every 5-10 consecutive passes; keep rotating players between offense and defense every minute or two.

This approach, used to emphasize technique, can be further developed into a 2v2 in a 10x20 yard grid; add small goals and score by passing with the inside-of-the-foot through these goals. Building upon format, you can add player to increase the grid until you have a small-sided game of 5v5 or 6v6. Impose specific demands, especially 2 touch only, or weak foot only, to develop technique. If player cannot maintain possession, add 1 or 2 extra players to 1 team, or use neutral players who always help the attack.

Since you should try to incorporate shooting into every practice, you may want to add goals (full-size or flat-faced) with or without goalies. This approach can be taken with any aspect of passing and receiving. Remember to impose specific demands only for a short time; then allow play without restriction. Encourage movement immediately after passing.

A tried-and-true method for combining technical and tactical work in passing and receiving involves the 1v1 exercise introduced in the previous chapter. After allowing players to take turns going 1on1 in a grid, give them option of passing back to their goalies, who must return a one-touch pass.

This gives them a limited 2v1, as they can only pass backwards. But it will encourage communication and decision-making. The next step is to add a support player on each side; these players are restricted to their respective touch lines and to one-touch passes. They support either attacker. Now the give-and-go is a real option. As before, they play all-out for a minute or two, then 1 quickly switch positions.


Yanna said...

Through your posts, I learn more and more about football.. :) Keep it up..:)