How do I coach short attacking passing to my players?

Ask Dave

My players struggle with fast passing in the final third – their control won’t let them use short attacking passes to rip open the heart of a strong opposition defence. Do I have to go back to basics to get them to pass at speed under pressure?

Dave says

As a core skill, passing is probably the one thing you should be constantly working on in your sessions every single week – it comes with the territory. But the one thing you have to do is make sure you get the right sessions so players have every type of pass at their disposal.

It’s therefore important to plan out sessions throughout your season where you focus on passing and what it can offer your team. At the beginning of last year in Soccer Coach Weekly’s webinar series we covered the coaching of a session and how the focus should be changed during the season.

How do I coach short attacking passing to my players

Iniesta finds himself set up with a shot at goal after quick passing by Barcelona


So in your coaching time plan you move onto short passing as the focus and then the focus should tighten even further to short attacking passes. In this way you can build on the passing focus and make sure all the passing boxes are ticked.

And with the short attacking passing you are working on the very thing your players are finding hard to do. This is how you build up and encourage your players to use the skills learned in training in matches.

If you look at the passing sessions in this issue your training can focus on patterns of play and passing with movement – general passing and moving – and then the passing environment becomes much more complex. It also looks at how support and movement work together to make passing easier.

Again you can see a shift in focus to through passing with late running players in the penalty area. Here the session makes passing the main coaching point and helps players to understand the different ways to pass and how to make life easier for their team mates by supporting runs.

Watching teams in the Champions League, you can see how combination passing can be the creative force that creates goalscoring opportunities. It doesn’t always have to be the fast one-two play of Real Madrid or the slick passing between Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez who can work all over the pitch. Passing can also be like the Bayern Munich team who worked their way upfield slowly through the first two-thirds before unleashing fast short passes in the final third or unleashing long passes into the corners like Leicester City.

There are so many passing styles on show in the Champions League that it should be easy to inspire your players to pass quickly in the final third.

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