Return to play: Pass to open player

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This training warm up helps to create a passing team capable of playing up the pitch at speed. It is easy to set up and excellent for fast feet, with players not only having to think but look to see where the spare man is.

Set up

You need a minimum of four players and two balls. We used five players to show how it works. Set up one main cone for the working player and three other cones five yards away and three yards apart.

How to play it

One player works and the other four, with three balls between them, are playing the ball and receiving it. The working player must pass to the player without a ball each time. So when the ball is played to the working player he must already know which player hasn’t got a ball and play it to him, then the next player passes and again the working player must hit the player without a ball. Swap the working player every 30 seconds and see who can make the most passes in 30 seconds.


Look for good awareness of the open player and a good choice of pass, with emphasis on pass selection and first touch. Communication comes into this too. Look for a good speed of play, which should get faster as players work on the session

Passing and receiving

    1. Three players have a ball and one starts the session by passing to the working player
    2. The working player can only pass to the ‘open’ player – the one without a ball

Pass and receive game

    3. The next player then passes to the working player who must be alert to where the balls are
    4. Here the player on the far right is open and the ball is passed – the instant he receives the ball, the next ball is passed

    5. The sequence ends with the third ball passed into the working player and returned to the open player
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