Passing is a true art just like the rest of the skills that a soccer player must possess. Most youth players think that passing is knocking the ball with the inside of their foot and they strive to master this pass. Yes, this is the most common pass and the most basic pass and the most used pass. Yes, you need to master it and in reality it should be flawless in games. However, there is an arsenal of passes that need to be mastered. The more passes that are in your repertoire - the more effective you will be on the field and the easier you will be able to unlock defenses.
I always take the time to teach my students the different passes that they need to possess. So what passes am I talking about? They are: inside foot, outside foot, laces, chips, scoops, driven, long balls, flicks, aerial passes, cushion passes, scuds and layoffs.
As you can see there are a lot of passes that need to be mastered. Each requires a different technique and they all are a must if you want to play at the highest level.
Unfortunately, with how the game has evolved into a quick 2 touch type of game, many coaches don’t take the time to allow their players to work on these passing skills. However, once you reach a high level of play, it is essential to have all the above passes as part of your game.
You must be thinking “When are these passes used?” Some examples are: when a team shuts you down with speed you need to be able to do scoop passes over their feet; when an opponent plays compact you need to be able to play long balls over the top; when you receive an aerial ball with a man on your back you need to be able to cushion pass it; when a teammate makes a run down the line and has a man marking him you need to be able to bend it around your opponent and into the path of your teammate; when there is a player standing between you and your teammate you need to be able to chip it over your opponent.
Having advanced passing skills makes you more effective and makes the game a lot more enjoyable. Opponents find it harder to steal the ball off you and you essentially create plays with precision passes that don’t zap your energy as dribbling and taking on players does. The best players in the world have mastered all these passes.
I hope this blog helps young players to become aware that there are many passes to be mastered. The best way to practice them is with a partner. Although it takes time to master them, once you do, you will be loaded with passing skills that will help you create plays that can’t be stopped by any tactic.
Director of Soccer Operations