EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Passing and penetration

Passing isn’t just about keeping possession – it’s about breaking through the opposition’s defensive set-up in order to create goal-scoring opportunities.

What this session is about

  1. Passing.
  2. Adding purpose to possession.
  3. Penetrating defensive lines.

What to think about

  • Ask players to be positive and find the end line/ target as quickly as possible – the first question they should ask themselves is, “Can I pass or dribble forward?”
  • Reinforce good passing and receiving techniques.
  • Encourage players to use good movement to create/use space.

Set-up

  • 2v2 plus 2 target players.
  • Grid approx 20 x 20m.
Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Both teams look to pass to either of the target players standing on opposite sides of the grid (target players may move along their line). If they pass to a target and receive the ball back, they must switch directions and play to the other target player.

Teams score one point for passing to one target, and 3 points for passing to two consecutive targets without losing possession. Possession changes when a team scores 3 points or they are tackled.

After a set time, rotate sides so that the target players become a team.

In pairs, players must move the ball from one target player to the other.

In pairs, players must move the ball from one target player to the other.


Development

Divide a 55 x 35m pitch into three, with the central area approx 30 x 35m. In the central area, play 4v4 with 2 neutrals who play for the team with the ball. The two end zones each have a receiver.

Score as above and rotate sides so the neutral and target players combine to make a team.

To progress – and to encourage players to penetrate quicker – limit each team to, say, a maximum of 5 passes, after which they lose possession. Alternatively, award extra points if a team finds a target player in 2 passes or fewer.

Neutral players quickly switch sides to help the team in possession reach the target players in the end zones.

Neutral players quickly switch sides to help the team in possession reach the target players in the end zones.


Game situation

Place goals at either end and add a defender and goalkeeper in each of the end zones. The middle section can be 2v2, 3v3 or 4v4 depending on numbers. Increase the playing area if necessary.

To score players must pass the ball into the final third. The final third becomes open to all once a pass has been made into it.

Build up quickly to the strikers in the end zones for the best chance to score.

Build up quickly to the strikers in the end zones for the best chance to score.


What to call out

  • “Play with your head up”
  • “If there’s a chance to play a longer pass then take it”
  • “Keep possession if you can’t pass forward”
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