AYSO Region 104

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FineSoccer Drill 184 - Passing and Combination Progression

Today’s featured progression is a great warm up activity that works on passing, receiving, moving off the ball, combinations and communication.

Assuming you have 14 players at your training session have them break into groups of 2’s with one ball per group. One player is in white and the other is in blue. All of the groups are inside of a 40 x 30 area. To start, the two players pass to each other with the rule being that they must have a 5-yard spring after each pass and also they must pass the ball at least 10 yards. The different groups are moving amongst each other so each player must keep their head up in order to avoid running or passing into another player. They do this for a two-minute period and then stretch.

The next step is to have the blues start with the ball. They are no longer in groups of 2’s instead it’s a white group and a blue group. The blues take a couple of dribbles then pass the ball to one of the whites and then run to that white who passes the ball right back to them. The blue then takes a couple of dribbles and does the same with another white player. This is done for a set period of time (usually 1 minute) and then they switch roles.

Next the blues start with the ball again and this time they pass the ball to white and then make a run to receive a one-touch wall pass back. This is done for 1 minute and then they switch roles.

Next the blues start with a ball and this time they pass the ball to a white player who receives it and dribbles at the blue player and they do a takeover and then find other partners. Again, this is done for a 1-minute period and then they switch roles.

Next blue starts with the ball and they pass the ball to a white player, check to and receive the ball back and then the white player spins off and receives the double pass (for more on double passes, see below). This is done for a two-minute period (because each player get their chance at each role).

Next blue starts with the ball and then passes to a white and the blue player overlaps the white player. The key is that the white player must find another white player to play the ball back to and that player finds the blue player on the overlap.

As you can see, there are numerous options that can be added to this to work on different types of combinations and passing sequences. The thing I like about this type of progression is that it’s a lot of touches and movement in a short period of time and because of the confined space, it also requires a lot of vision and communication.

Double Pass

A double pass is when Player A passes the ball to Player B (frequently it's a soft pass) to draw the player (and her defender) toward Player A. Player B then one touches the ball back to Player A (on an angle to allow for success on the next pass) and then Player B spins away. Player A then plays the ball into the space that Player B is running into (which is going to be behind the player defending Player B. This is a penetrating pass into space for Player B to either get to goal or to get a ball served. (see diagram below)

One of the keys to the double pass is for Player B to make a run back to the ball and also be able to hold the defender off. Then, Player A should play a SOFT pass into Player B. The reason this ball should be played soft is that you WANT to draw the player marking Player B to think she can get the ball. By checking back like this, you open up the space for the penetrating pass. This soft pass is one of the most misunderstood passes in soccer because we, as coaches, spend so much time asking our players to hit a ball hard and now all of a sudden, we want them to hit a soft pass. The key here is for the players to understand why the ball is hit softly. When they realize that the intention is to draw the defender to the ball, it makes for this to work much better.

One of the reasons the double pass isn't used enough in youth soccer is that the players simply don't get to watch enough high level soccer. When you start watching professional games from around the world, you start to appreciate how things like the double pass really can take you to the next level in terms of tactical awareness.

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