The Importance of One-Touch Passing

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the FineSoccer Drills Newsletter.  Today’s featured activity works on one touch passing and understanding the importance of accuracy in passing.

Watching various teams of different levels play, one of the big differences between the truly top teams and the others is the ability of the top teams (and top players) to pass the ball not just to the correct person but the correct area almost every time.  Watching a team like Barcelona play it’s amazing the accuracy of their passes and how one pass sets up the next pass (and frequently the next few passes).

As an example, in the diagram below the keeper has a ball at his feet and is going to play the ball out wide to his right back.

A pass made slightly behind the back (to his left foot) will result in one of two things.

Either the player will have to close his body to the field

Or the player will play the ball one touch back to where it came

There is a third option where the player can try to turn with the ball but at that point, it’s forcing them to turn in an area that is dangerous because they can’t see what is coming at them and if they lose the ball they are in a very bad situation.

If the keeper plays the ball to the front foot it allows the receiving player to go forward and see the whole field with his first touch

The difference between passing the ball to the front foot or to the back foot might only be a foot or two but it’s a HUGE difference in terms of what it allows the receiving player to do. The top teams and top players understand the importance of making this pass correctly every.

One thing I have always found fascinating is even though most tactics become useless without the ability to execute, people want to put such a big emphasis on tactics that they tend to forget the importance of the technical aspect in order to execute the tactics.

One way to show the importance of proper passing and positioning of the body is through one touch shadow training.  Start with 11 players on the field with the ball starting with the keeper.  Set a goal ¾ of the way downfield.

The objective is to score a goal while playing one touch soccer.  The players will quickly realize how important it is to position their bodies in a way to easily receive the ball in a way to work the ball forward.

As an example, below you will see the team work the ball down the right side of the field.  With each pass, at least one person has to reposition their body

If any of these passes is played to the wrong foot, it doesn’t work.  While this seems like it will be an easy thing to do, since there is no opposition, you might be surprised how difficult it is for a team to work the ball down field and how many bad passes occur.

Once a team is comfortable doing this, add a couple of opponents but again, emphasize that everything has to be one touch.

Have a great day!

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

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