Passing is something that is often misunderstood or oversimplified by players and coaches. Some people will only see as passing as just a way of getting the ball from A to B. In reality, we need to understand that getting the ball to the receiver is the bare minimum that should be expected when executing a high-quality pass. Let’s not get carried away and judge passes based on that one factor only. Passing is a lot more complex and detailed than that. You can make a comparison between passing a ball and passing an exam. When doing an exam, you can have a poor exam and barely scrape 40% (assuming 40% is the pass mark). You may have passed the exam but that doesn’t mean you did very well. You achieved the minimal requirement to get you over the line. There was still a lot more you could have done better. Passing the ball is the same as that. If you judge the quality of your pass based only on whether it gets to the player you intended it to, you are neglecting a lot of key information and detail you could have improved. If you’re a player reading this, don’t let this put you off! It’s a good thing because it means that there are many ways you can improve the quality of passes you make.others. An average player will think more about themselves when they pass the ball. They will focus on getting the ball away from their feet as soon as possible and consider their job complete if the ball gets to a teammate. An excellent player will think about how they can make the next play as easy as possible for their teammate. They will focus on the finer details of the pass and have a reason behind it. When you pass the ball, there should always be thought behind it and you should be able to answer the question “What am I trying to do with this pass?”. I will discuss two key components that I feel are essential for high quality passing in this article They are the correct placement of the pass and the passing with the correct weight. There are many other components, but I feel these are the most relatable for players.
The placement of the pass refers to where exactly you pass the ball to. The two main placement areas are into a player’s feet or into space. When you are making a pass it’s important to consider which one is most suitable to use for each situation. These placement areas can be further broken down into more detail:
FEET: If you’re passing into someone's feet, you must consider what foot you're passing to. That decision will depend on the situation that arises and the player you are passing. A pass played to back foot of the player (the foot furthest away from you) with an open body shape can be very effective. This is because it allows them to receive and play forward as quickly as possible. Other times, you should also consider what foot is safest to play. For example, if a defender is at a player’s back foot you might choose to pass to the front foot instead (the foot closest to you). This could be influenced by the strong for the receiver. If you know your teammate is one-footed, that will help your decision on what foot you should pass to. Try to put yourself in the other player's shoes and think about what they would want from a pass.
SPACE: Passing into space can also be useful and effective in certain situations. It is a good option if the receiver is on the run, rather than hitting their feet, you can aim for the space in front of them. This allows them to run onto the ball without breaking their stride. It can also be used as a tool to force your teammate to move somewhere. For example, pass the ball into space near a teammate that you want them to move into. This works great when you want them to make forward run. You have to be aware of the distance in front of the player however, you don’t want to over hit it.
The weight of pass refers to how hard you hit the pass. You should aim to vary your passing weight according to the situation and the player you are passing to too. Don’t always hit your passes at the same weight. A slow pace will generally slow down the tempo of play but is easy for your teammate to control. When a pass has a slower pace it allows the receiver a lot more freedom. They can control the ball and do what they want with it. A hard pass can increase the tempo and be useful for when the ball needs to be moved quickly (such as switching the play). It can also allow the receiver to bounce pass (lock their ankle and pass one-touch) quickly. This will also help with speed of play. The main con of a harder pass is that it can be harder to control for some players. Take these into consideration and assess who the receiver is! Tailor your weight of pass to suit your teammates. Don’t treat all teammates the same. If your teammate has a great touch, it allows you the option to hit a harder pass. If your teammate has a worse touch you may use slower or softer pass more often. Always aim to play to their strengths. Communicate with your teammates off the pitch and ask them what kind of pass they like to receive.