Third line pass

The third line pass is the creative pass that splits defenders and creates space for attackers to exploit. Helps players to understand the importance of creative passing but also to play easier passes when a defence splitting pass isn’t ‘on’.

Set up

You need balls, bibs and cones in a 10 x 10 yard area. We used 8 players in the session.

How to play it

Split your players into 5 possession players and 3 pressing players. The team of three is in the centre with 1 player from the team of 5. The other 4 players are around the edge of the area and they start with the ball. Every Third Line Pass (a pass which goes between two of the pressing players) scores a point. If the three players win the ball they can either play into touch or keep it from the single player scoring a point for 5 passes. Once they have scored either way the ball goes back to the possession team.


Vision, awareness, good passing and receiving for the possession team with pressing key to the three players in the middle

1. The first pass here is a second line pass because it passes a defender but doesn’t split them – it is a good possession pass
2. A third line pass is creative because it splits the defenders allowing the player in possession to switch play to the other side

3. The player in the middle must move around to make it easier to play third line passes here a simple pass keeps possession but does not split the defenders
4. Possession is important so don’t criticise if players miss an opportunity to play a third line pass but point out opportunities so your players learn quicker

5. Here there is an excellent third line pass but the covering player gets across and blocks the receiver stopping him winning a point.

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