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Dynamic Passing in Soccer

by Martin Roberts

“Pass and Move” was a British hit by the English Premiership team Liverpool FC back in the 90’s and while that team didn’t always practice what they sang, it did epitomize the foundation for fast, dynamic soccer, the ability to control the ball, pass and find space.

Having your team pass the ball efficiently is vital to the backbone of any victory; if you have the ball you control the game. However, it is alarming to see the amount of coaches who bypass that very technique. Would you run before you walked? Would you swallow before you chew? No, so why teach your players set pieces and drills when they can’t kick a ball?

This is my first article for Elite Soccer Conditioning and I am privileged to share with you the philosophy of Soccer I grew up with in England, and the methodology I use today as a Professional Soccer Coach in California.

The key to any successful session is fun with discipline. Keeping the session dynamic, giving them quick instructions and making them laugh once in a while will ensure the player wants to keep coming back. This starts from the U6 level right through to Varsity.

So, to introduce the mechanics of passing and moving, here is a dynamic drill.

  1.  Passing Drill Setup
    Create a box, 5 x 10 yards, with a different color cone in the middle. This will contain 2 players, so replicate the box to cover enough players.

soccer drill set up


  1. 2.       Passing Technique – 2 Touch
    Have your players start with the basics of passing the ball, with these key coaching points:
    * Receive the ball with a positive first touch, placing the ball a foot in front of you
    * Step up towards the ball
    * Non kicking foot next to the ball, toes pointing in the direction you want to pass
    * Lean forward slightly as you swing your kicking foot towards the ball
    * Strike the ball firmly with the ‘inside arch’ of the foot

soccer passing drill

  1. 3.       Personal Coaching
    Have your players continue to pass the ball to each other, while you ensure that your players are using this technique correctly by walking around the outside of the group and do some 1 on 1s if it is incorrect.


  2. 4.       Competition
    Bring in a little competition to get the players used to passing and controlling quickly.
    ‘First team to make 10 complete passes wins’ when one team shouts winner, have them do 5 passes in front of the group to qualify.
    If they win, they get a bonus point.

    Then you add progression, making the competition harder, for example:
    * If the ball leaves your zone, you go back to 0
    * Team now needs to make 15 passes, 20, or 25.


  3. 5.       Passing Technique – 1 Touch
    Progress to having the players’ use 1 touch passing, ask and then explain that the technique doesn’t change, just the timing. Run the same competition as before and find a winner.


  1. 6.       Adding Movement
    Here is where we make the same drill more dynamic, by having the players move once they have passed the ball. You will have noticed throughout the drill that the players move forward from the back line. We need to have the players understand that once the ball is passed, they move and not watch.

Soccer passing

·         Player has 1 touch to make the pass stop either in-between the blue cones, or as close to the blue cones as possible, on their partners side

·         Once they have played that pass they must run to the back line before they can touch the ball again

·         Every time the ball stops in their partners half, or on the blue line, the player gets 1 point

·         Run this exercise for about 5 minutes and find out which player has the most points.

This drill is also an excellent conditioning workout and can be used as a warm up drill.
This drill should run for approximately 20 – 25 minutes, to allow the players plenty of time on the ball, plenty of time to practice their passing and from here you can progress to another passing drill while under pressure.

Depending on the technique ability of your team, passing and moving should be practiced as much as possible in the pre-season with as much diversity in each drill as possible.

Try this drill with your teams; I would love to hear some feedback on how it works for you.