The passing game as a foundation for modern football

Ever since Pep Guardiola made FC Barcelona's Tiqui-Taca world famous, a fast and controlled passing game has become the trademark of modern football. While dribble artists such as Pelé and Diego Maradona were once celebrated as magicians on the football field, nowadays the focus is more than ever on a controlled offensive build-up and a precise and tactically thought-through passing game. However, it is often overlooked that a well-developed passing game goes well beyond the ability to execute Tiqui Taca football. Rather, the passing game is the real foundation of offensive football!

However, an efficient passing game can only take place when the basic soccer skills of a pass are learned, mastered and perfected. Step by step, players are introduced to the basics of ball handling, controlling and processing to the game without ball, as an important part of the passing game. Finding spaces, getting separation and releasing from defenders are internalized and open up a lot of new possibilities for the offensive play of your own team. With our football drills designed by sports scientists and certified coaches, you can start right away on the training ground!


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Medicine Ball – Pass Competition

Set Up:

This exercises requires a 20m x 15m field, which you mark down with cones. In the middle of this field you should place 5-7 medicine balls into a neutral zone. The neutral zone covers an area of 3m to both sides. Mark down the neutral area with cones as well. Divide the group into two teams – Each player should get a ball. Place additional balls close to the teams.

Execution:

As soon as the coach has given the start signal, the players will target the medicine balls in the middle of the field. The goal is to move the balls out of the neutral zone inside the opposing team’s zone (behind the cone line). Strong and precise shooting is required. Each ball that crosses the opponents line, will count as a point for the team. Decision making as well as orientation skills are demanded – Players will get to the point where they have to decide whether they should go for a score or rather focus on preventing the opponents from scoring? Playing time: 2 minutes – Which team reaches the highscore?

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4 (+4) vs 4 on several goals

Set Up:

Divide the group into three teams of 4 (you can vary the amount of players in a team). Place 5 cone/pole goals with a width of 3m, on the pitch (30m x 30m). Adjust the size of the field and goals to the amount of players.

Execution:

Two teams (red and orange) play as one versus the third team. The 4+4 team is the ball controlling team and tries to create spacing, through fast passing and good positional play. Goals can be scored, when succesfully passing and receiving the ball through cone/pole goals. The third team of four tries to keep the two attacking teams from scoring, with maintaining a good positional play. Playing time: 6 games of 2 minutes – Each team of 4 will be playing defense twice.

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Through Pass - 3+2 versus 3

Set Up:

Divide a field of approx. 25m x 15m into three zones of each 25m x 5m. Divide players into groups of 5 (blue team) and 3 players (orange team). The blue team has three players in one endzone and two in the other. The orange team has all three players in the middle zone as defenders. The group of three blue players has the ball prior to the start of the exercise.

Execution:

The blue team tries to consistently pass the ball from one endzone to the other, without the defenders gaining possession of the ball. 5 successful passes (from one side to the other) equal a point for the blue team. Gaining possession of the ball equals a point for the defending team. Play until 7 points, then put in new defenders.

This exercise aims to improve your team's through passes. Players have to constantly try to get open behind the defenders before being able to receive a pass. The ball possessing group of players has to maintain a quick and wide passing game, to create gaps in the defensive scheme.

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The end zone game - 4v4

Set Up:

Use 4 cones to set up a field of approx. 15m x 40m. Set up two 5m long end zones in the field by using two cones each. Divide group into teams of 4 players. Place balls near the sidelines in case ball goes out of bounce.

Execution:

This exercise is a regular 4v4, with the objective of getting the ball in the opposing team's endzone. Defenders and attacking players can not enter the endzones before the pass is played. 3-4 rounds of each 5 minutes with different variations.

Variations could include: Handball - Player in ball possession is only allowed to take 3 steps or Ball is passed with the foot and caught with the hands; "Touchdowns" can only be scored by receiving the pass in the endzone; Free game with only 3 ball touches per player. (As seen in the video).

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A quick pass to the shot on goal

Passing exercises do not yet make a complete football player. A precise and fast pass can not only look good but create important and dangerous goal scoring chances. Therefore, these skills should be combined in training with other skills. Passes are very well suited to integrate them in small sided games or shot on goal drills. To help your create your next training session plan almost automatically, we put up lot more exercise examples and variations on our drill pages.


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