Characteristics of a Good Pass

Passing is a fundamental skill in soccer and is, often times, taught along with receiving. There are 4 common characteristics of a good pass.

1.    Accuracy. 

Whether the pass is a five yard pass or a fifty five yard pass a good pass must hit it’s target player. Generally if the target player is standing still or running straight to the ball carrier then the pass should be played directly to the feet of the receiving player. If the receiving player is running across the field (a lateral run) the ball should be played into the space in front of the target player so the target player does not need to wait for it. How much the ball should be played in front of the ball carrier will depend on the positioning of opposing defenders.

2.    Speed.

The speed of the pass will also depend upon the movement of the target player. If the target player is running right at the ball carrier the ball should be slightly “underweighted” so the target player can control it. If the target player is standing still or moving laterally the speed of the pass should be gauged so that the target player can receive the ball comfortably. Good players are able to receive hard passes without mis controlling the ball and spilling it to an opponent. 

3.    Timing.

Soccer is a game of “Visual Cues”. We do not have a play book in soccer and the passing and movement of the ball between team mates depends on how they read the movement and body language of team mates. There is no point in passing the ball to a player who is looking away and not prepared to receive the pass. Generally good timing is considered to be when the player with the ball makes eye contact with the target player and the visual cue is that the target player is ready to receive the pass.

4.    Deception.

Defenders, sometimes, read the “visual cues” of opposing attackers and intercept the pass. Deception is an important quality defining both the physical movement and the visual cues of the player with the ball. Generally attackers deceive opponents by disguising their pass in two different ways;

A.    Moving in one direction and passing the ball in a different direction (a back heel would be a classic example)

B.    Looking in one direction and passing the ball in another direction.

Sequential Passing

Squad of 16 players. Players are in a general area and there is no, particular direction, to the exercise.

Give the players each a number 1 – 16. GK’s can join in. The players move around in a random fashion passing the ball sequentially – 1 to 2, 2 to 3 etc. until they get to 16 and it goes back to 1. Players must be on the move at all times and prepared to receive and pass the ball. In a large squad of 16 players the coach may use 2 or 3 balls to make the time between each pass less lengthy. All of the characteristics of a good pass can be incorporated into the Sequential Passing exercise.

Enjoy Your Coaching.

Jeff Tipping
US Soccer A License
UEFA A License
NSCAA Master Coach