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Soccer Passing Drills – 3 Fantastic Exercises to Develop Superior Passing Skills

Passing is a critical skill in soccer, crucial for teams focused on either maintaining possession or executing swift counterattacks. That’s why we recommend always including at least some form of passing drills in every training session.

However, passing isn’t just about ball handling; it’s equally about adopting the right posture and honing quick reaction skills. We show you 3 great passing drills that are especially effective for advanced youth and adult players, as they lay a strong foundation for their overall gameplay. Don’t forget to develop the ability to play effectively with both feet right from the start.

Passing Drills at Liverpool FC (Photo: Vlad1988 / Shutterstock.com)
Passing Drills at Liverpool FC (Photo: Vlad1988 / Shutterstock.com)

Key Coaching Points of Passing Drills

But before get into the drills let us take a look at some key points we as a coach should consider when training passing:

  1. Technique Mastery: Focus on the proper technique for passing, emphasizing precise foot placement, optimal body posture, and clean ball contact.
  2. Ambidextrous Skills: Design drills to equally engage both the dominant and non-dominant foot, fostering versatility in passing.
  3. Precision in Passing: Incorporate targets or designated zones to refine players’ passing accuracy.
  4. Passing Dynamics: Train players to adapt the strength and timing of their passes to match various game situations.
  5. Spatial Intelligence: Blend in exercises that enhance awareness of movement and space, teaching players to create and exploit passing opportunities.
  6. Team Communication: Foster both verbal and non-verbal interactions during drills to strengthen team cohesion.
  7. Real-Game Simulation: Utilize drills that replicate in-match conditions, aiding players in applying their skills contextually.
  8. Position-Specific Drills: Customize exercises according to player roles (defenders, midfielders, forwards) to hone relevant skills.
  9. Agility Integration: Combine passing drills with speed, shooting and agility training to mirror the intensity of actual games.
  10. Gradual Complexity: Begin with foundational drills, progressively intensifying the difficulty as players advance. This can be done by setting time limits, decreasing the dimensions of the playing field or putting the passing team under pressure using opponents.
  11. Immediate Feedback: When necessary offer constructive feedback, aiding players in refining their passing techniques.
  12. Enjoyable Training: Ensure that drills are fun and engaging to maintain player enthusiasm and participation.

The following drills are from dutch Coach Willy Kaspers and his book “Precise Passing – Perfect Combination Play” which is also available in our store!

Passing Drill in a Square

Passing Drill in a Square

Set Up
6 to 8 players, 5 cones free in space (depending on level), square with a side length of about 10-14 meters.

Organization

A and B face each other diagonally. A passes to B, who plays the ball to C. C passes with his right foot to D and B offers for an one-two combination with D. Subsequently, D dribbles back to the starting point in high speed. C sprints towards the position of B.

Coaching Points

  • First combine over the right side, then over the left (otherwise, C only runs from the right to the left), or you decide for combining twice over the right, twice of the left side
  • Quick passing
  • Clear technical execution, Eye contact among each other
  • Pass the ball into the correct foot (both feet)
  • Players shall position openly and be light-footed (deep in the legs with
    tension)

Precise Passing – Perfect Combination Play

49 fantastic passing drills by dutch coach Willy Kaspers! The Book focuses on the following key aspects:

  • Precise Passing & Perfect Combination Play
  • Shift of The Play
  • Quick Change of Positions & Finishing

Passing Drill Rectangle

Passing Drill Rectangle

Set Up
8 to 10 players, 10 cones, rectangle: 12 x 18 meters free in space.

Organization
A and C as well as B and E and D and F respectively face each other in a hexagon. A passes to a random player. All players need to concentrate and be prepared to receive the ball. All players need to have received the ball before F gets the ball and dribbles back to the starting point. All players change their positions counterclockwise.

Coaching Points

  • Perform this exercise from the left as well as from the right
  • Eye contact among each other
  • Clear technical execution
  • Pass the ball into the correct foot (both feet)
  • Players shall position openly and be light-footed (deep in the legs with
    tension)

Passing Drill in a Diamond

Passing Drill in a Diamond

Set Up
12 to 16 players, 5 cones, diamond 12 x 12 meters free in space.

Organization (clockwise)
A and B as well as D and E face each other in the formation of a diamond. A and D simultaneously play to B and E, who offer out of movement. B and E deposit the ball to A and D, run into their back with taking over the positions of C and F.

Following this, A and D pass to C and F. C and F receive the ball and dribble in high speed towards the direction of D and A.

Coaching Points

  • Eye contact among each other
  • Clear technical execution
  • Pass the ball into the correct foot (both feet)
  • Players shall position openly and be light-footed (deep in the legs with tension)

Looking for more passing drills?

Need more drills? We got you covered!


Precise Passing – Perfect Combination Play

49 fantastic passing drills by dutch coach Willy Kaspers! The Book focuses on the following key aspects:

  • Precise Passing & Perfect Combination Play
  • Shift of The Play
  • Quick Change of Positions & Finishing

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