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Fundamental soccer passing drills

By Lucas Keating, 16 August 2020

Introduction to passing in football

Passing in football is one of the essential skills, though it is still underrated by many players. If you look at every successful team or any team that has ever won anything, you realize that they built their reputation on correct passes that led to scoring opportunities. Training passing and receiving soccer drills might not be as flashy as scoring a beautiful goal, but it will help your team win. 

Barcelona is renowned for the passing abilities of its players. Johan Cruyff introduced the famous Tiki-taka style of playing during his tenure as manager of Barcelona in 1988. Basically, Tiki-taka involves short-distance passes and swift change of position that can take out an entire defense. 

Later on, Pep Guardiola further perfected this style because he had some of the best passers in the world at his disposal. Ronaldinho, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, and others executed Tiki-taka relentlessly. During Guardiola’s tenure as manager of Barcelona, the club has won fourteen trophies, and many individual player awards. 

Players like Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard were known for their incredible long-distance passes. Not only could they find an open player but also pass to a player galloping towards the goal. All the mentioned players were incredible passers and understood that every pass was one step closer to sending the ball to the net. It was the very reason they had been training soccer passing drills almost every football training. 

The ability to make a precise pass during a counter-attack is invaluable because it means less work for the scorer, and therefore, higher chances of winning the game. If you cannot find a player and pass the ball, you might put your goalkeeper in jeopardy. As we have seen many times, a bad pass can lead to a counter-attack, and your opponent might concede a goal. 

Football passing drills are essential to both young football players and professionals. It is no doubt that athletes may practice more variations of soccer passing drills within the team, but if there is no one around to help you improve your passing skills, you could do it on your own with the help of the wall. The optimal approach is to have a coach or a partner by your side to help you with the power and accuracy of your passing skills.

Another option is to attend a high-performance football academy or a short-term soccer camp. They train athletes intensively, keep abreast of the latest methodology and best practices, have qualified coaches with UEFA Pro, A, B licenses, and many success stories. You can review many of them hosted all over the world on Sportlane. 

Individual football passing drills

Nothing can stop you from achieving greatness and improving your passing abilities. You could practice on your own with no help by using a wall. The most important thing while doing football drills is to never lose focus. 

Pick a spot on the wall and try to send the ball to that exact spot every time you make a pass. If the ball goes to the left or right, you will need to run a lot to position yourself for the next strike. Pay attention to the power of your shot. If you hit the ball with less power than needed, the ball will not come back to you, and you would lose pace. If you hit the ball with too much power, you will have a hard time controlling it on the return, and you will lose rhythm.

To execute this drill, position yourself one meter away from a wall. Start with your stronger foot and pass the ball to the spot on the wall for a minute. It is of utmost importance that you stay focused and deliver passes that are accurate and powerful enough so you do not run a lot. 

Try staying in one place and do this exercise with a rhythm. After you have completed the exercise with one foot, do it with the other one. Once it becomes too easy for you, you could make your variations of this drill. Instead of touching the ball only once, you could control the ball with one foot, and send the pass with the other. 

If the wall is long, set markers and run along the wall making a pass with one foot and then the other.

Before performing this drill, place three cones about two meters away from the wall or any kind of vertical surface. If you do not have cones, you could put water bottles or other objects that can serve as markers. 

Start on the right side of the cones and hit the ball, so it returns where you hit it. Receive the ball with the inside of your right foot and push it to the left side in a single touch. Use your left foot to make a pass and receive the ball, and repeat this pattern twenty times. You can also make variations of this drill. 

Start with your right leg and make a pass. While the ball is going towards the wall, position your body slightly to the right side so you could receive it with the outside of your left foot. Push the ball to the left side and hit it with your left foot so that it returns to you. Again, change your body position so you could receive the ball with the outside of your right foot, and go right. Repeat this process twenty times. 

If you cannot execute this drill with only two touches, take three until you are ready to do it properly. 

This exercise is significantly harder than the first one because of the distance. However, if you maintain your form and keep your rhythm, you will succeed. Make sure you do not hit the ball underneath because it will not go straight, and you will have a harder time controlling it on your next touch. You are preparing yourself for a match, which is why use the inside of your foot first. 

Most passes in the game come from the inside of the foot, and that is where your focus should be. However, do not neglect other parts of your foot, and eventually use the top, bottom, and outside of your foot. 

So, after completing this drill with the inside of your foot, make your variations by changing the place where your foot touches the ball. Do this drill for a minute on each foot. 

This drill improves not only your passing skills, but it also improves your control of the ball. This exercise is among the basic passing and receiving soccer drills, but it can lead to an amazing improvement in your football abilities. Make sure that you stay focused, and that the ball is always in front of you. If your first touch is bad, you will have a harder time making a pass. The ball should not be behind you after the first touch because you would have to swing your leg unnaturally. 

Also, if it is too much in front of you, you would have to chase a ball a lot more than usual. Ideal ball placement after the first touch should be slightly to the side of the foot you are using and in front of you. 

After you complete this drill for a minute on each foot in two repetitions, you could use both legs to create your variations. You could receive the ball with one foot and make the pass with the other.

Start by doing one pass on your right foot and control the ball with your left foot on the return. Make two passes with your left foot and always make sure you touch the ball twice during each pass. Once you made two passes with your left foot, make three passes with your right foot. Increase the number of passes on each foot until you get to ten. 

Once you do that, go all the way back to one. You could start with two touches, and do the second repetition with only one touch because it is more difficult, but that is up to you to decide. This drill activates your brain because you have to pay attention to the number of passes you make using each foot, so you could not do it mechanically.

This exercise is among the basic passing and moving soccer drills, and you can greatly benefit from it. Before doing this drill, you will need to set four markers one meter apart from each other. That way, you will get three gates that will help you execute this exercise. 

Start with your right foot, and aim for the first gate. You are standing ten meters away from the wall, and the ball should return to you fast, so you should add a bit of power to your pass. If you want to do this drill with only one touch, pay more attention to the place where the ball is going to return because you need to set yourself up for the next pass. 

If you do this exercise by using both feet, you could position the ball correctly even if your first pass was slightly off. However, you should always strive to position the ball for the next strike during your first pass. After you hit the first gate, aim for the second, and then the third. After completing this with one foot, do it with your other foot. Again, you could make your versions of this by changing the receiving and passing foot, and so on. 

Do this drill in two repetitions for around two minutes and make sure that you have an equal number of passes on your left and right foot. This drill is more difficult than the others, but do not give up if you are struggling to execute it the first time because practice makes it perfect.

This drill will improve your ball control and your passing accuracy. Start on the right side of the right marker and hit the ball towards the wall. On the return, the ball should come to you inside the gate that those two markers create. 

Receive the ball with the outside of your foot, while simultaneously positioning the ball for your next pass. If you made the first pass with your right foot, receive the ball inside the gate with your left, and push the ball to the left of the left marker. Make a pass and receive a ball with your right foot while positioning the ball to the right side of the right marker. Repeat this process for two minutes, take a break, and do it again for another two minutes. 

If you are struggling to perform this task, you could increase the number of touches when receiving and positioning the ball for the pass. Once you set your aim, you can execute this drill perfectly without having to take extra touches.

You can start ten meters away from the wall and pick a spot where you want to pass the ball to. Once you do that, run forward, thus decreasing the distance between you and the wall. The ball is positioned closer and closer to the wall with each pass and make sure that you only get one touch. 

Once you get as close to the wall as possible, start running backward while also passing the ball to the wall. You can do this drill with your right foot for one repetition and switch to your left foot. 

Also, once you get used to doing this, you can use both feet in the same repetition. This exercise is among those passing soccer drills that can immensely improve your first touch and ball control, and you could try hitting the ball harder than usual so you could train yourself to receive the ball.  

Central backs and forwards are also likely to benefit from this drill because it improves body positioning and passing abilities. Passing in football is rarely static, and this exercise keeps you active. You will need two walls on each side, or you could use the help of your teammate or coach if you lack one wall. 

Start from the middle and make a powerful pass to the wall. The ball should have enough power so that it returns to you. You should simultaneously receive the ball and make a turn towards the other wall. Pass the ball to the other wall and repeat this process. This is among those soccer passing drills that can increase your speed of play, which is a trait from which your entire team can benefit. 

Make sure that you only get one quality touch before passing the ball because the goal of this drill is to minimize the number of touches. Do twenty repetitions with each foot, and you could also combine the receiving foot and the passing foot.

It should be mentioned that football academies in England, Spain, and France have many tailor-made soccer camps that are organized throughout the year. They dedicate much time to individual passing skills among the athletes. 

Soccer passing drills with a partner

If you have a personal coach by your side or a teammate, there is an unlimited amount of football passing drills. These exercises are valuable because two players can benefit from them, and you also have to take a human factor into account. 

Usually, players prefer these football passing drills because they are more engaging, and you have a goal of delivering the ball correctly so your partner has a correct starting position. Passing in soccer is equally important as the rest of the aspects of the game and practicing your passing can lead to an immense improvement. Partner exercises may develop strong interpersonal team relations in young athletes, and that’s why is important to implement frequent soccer drills for kids.

Start by placing two markers about one meter apart from each other. Place another set of markers about five meters from the first set. Both you and your partner should be behind these two gates. Pass the ball to your partner and ignore the foot you are using in the beginning. 

Once you get your rhythm, you could use only one foot to make a pass, and then change it after some time. If you decide to do this drill with two touches, make sure that your first touch is correct because you do not want the ball to go through your gate when you receive the ball. You should make a pass before the ball goes through your gate. 

Again, make your versions by combining the receiving and the passing foot. Regardless of the version you want to implement, the ball should always go through the center of the gate.

Stand behind one cone, and your partner should do the same. Before starting this drill, decide if you want to begin the exercise by going clockwise or counterclockwise. If you opt for the clockwise version, you will receive the ball on the right side of your body with your right foot. 

Make sure you use your first touch to tap the ball to the left because the ball should be positioned for a left foot pass. Make the pass with your left foot, and accurately send the ball to your partner so he can receive it with his right foot, and position the ball on his left foot for a strike. Two crucial components make this drill valuable: passing accuracy and ball control on the receiving end. 

Your first touch is important because you should tap the ball forward and slightly to the side of your passing foot. The ideal angle is forty-five degrees, and you also need to control the power of your first touch. 

If your first touch is too soft, you will have to wait for the ball to pass the cone, and you would not lose your momentum. On the opposite, if you hit the ball too hard on your first touch, you would completely lose control over the ball.

Although the video suggests that you need eight markers to perform this drill, you could just set two gates about twenty-five meters apart. The width of the gates should be about five meters. Pass the ball to your partner by hitting it with laces so it is driven below knee-height. 

The ball should not go over one foot in height, and it would be ideal for the ball to slide on the ground from one gate to the other the entire time. In the beginning, you can have three touches to control the ball, but try reducing the number of touches as your progress.

Set four cones three meters apart in a way that the cones make an imaginary box. Place another set of cones about twenty-five meters apart from the first one. You and your partner should stay in the box the entire time, and you will succeed if you make accurate passes. 

This drill is valuable to all players in a football team, especially for wings because it improves their center ball. Again, try performing this task by only taking two touches, but you can take more until you master ball control. 

Always strive to be accurate because your teammate will have an easier job when receiving the ball and one good pass can lead to a scoring opportunity. Increase the distance between the boxes once you become too comfortable doing this drill. 

You could also switch to the outside of your foot, or use the tip of the shoe to deliver the pass once you master the regular inside of your foot. 

Passing skillset can be significantly enriched by a player if additional training on soccer dribbling drills and ball control drills soccer would be added to the regular practice sessions. The compound effect of passing, ball control, and dribbling is really significant. 

Conclusion

We could put most of the suggested drills under the category of advanced soccer passing drills, even though they do not look like that at first glance. Every soccer practice should include passing drills, especially at the youth level because young players need to enshrine the correct technique from the start. A great way to instill the best passing technique is to attend a short-term football camp or residential soccer academy. If you are interested in both types of programs, please, see all soccer camps and academies available on Sportlane. 

Passing is an art form, and it can mesmerize if you do it right. Even fans know how to appreciate great passers, and one of the fans said that Paul Scholes could find his father with a pass even though he has not seen him since he was five years old. All jokes aside, every player on the pitch needs to have decent passing, which is why football passing drills are incorporated into the training routines.

Even goalkeepers need to have accurate passing because it can lead to counter-attacks. If a player or a goalkeeper is not good at passing, that can have a negative effect on team performance. 

Imagine doing everything right, and just before the finish, a player ruins your chances of scoring a goal because of an incorrect pass. 

Passing is one of the key elements of football, it is what keeps the ball going forward, and through the net.