The following posts have been tagged with "soccer passing to space"...

Soccer Aggressive Receiving


For young soccer teams and most Rec soccer teams it is very important to teach “Passing to Space” and “Aggressive Receiving“. What I mean is that you should use the Dribble Around a Cone & Pass Relay Race Soccer Practice Game to teach receivers that they MUST stay alert, on their toes, and stop the pass, no matter how bad it is…. they MUST assume that every soccer pass will be bad, get in front of it, and NOT let it get past them.

Many players seem to believe that a soccer pass is supposed to hit them in the feet, and they will just stand there flat-footed waiting for the soccer ball, and if it doesn’t come to them perfectly, they just let it go by and say ‘It’s not my fault ‘ it was a bad pass’. That is the wrong attitude. One of the most important things you can do is teach your players that a pass is NOT supposed to be perfect and that they must stay alert, on their toes, and go to the pass, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, do NOT let the pass get past them they MUST do their very best to stop the ball. Teach your players that most passes are to ‘Soccer Space‘ and that the pass is NOT supposed to be perfect.

The reason to teach this is that it is unrealistic to expect most Rec soccer players to be able to make a perfect pass when under pressure… SO, teach your receivers to NOT expect a perfect pass. In fact, teach them to expect a BAD pass and that they MUST be alert and do their very best to stop bad passes. Imagine the benefits of teaching Aggressive Soccer Receiving!

I suggest you give a special patch to encourage and reward this (pick a color or use a Star or Lightning Bolt). If you can teach this it will make a huge impact on your team’s play.

Ideally, your players should be able to both soccer pass to feet and soccer pass to space. But the reality is that young players will have a hard time making accurate soccer passes when under pressure, and so will Rec soccer players. That is a big advantage of teaching this approach and of teaching them to “Pass to Space” it makes it clear that they shouldn’t expect “soccer passes to their feet“. The Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race soccer practice game is the best way to teach Aggressive Soccer Receiving.


Soccer Styles of Play


On offense, the two primary styles of play are a “direct attack” (which tries to quickly move the ball into scoring range, often using long passes, “through balls”, or long air balls) and an “indirect attack” (also called a “Possession” style, which is slower and uses many short passes, often sideways or backwards, while looking for a weakness in the defense.) On defense, the two primary styles of play are a “zone defense” and a “marking defense” (i.e., a man-to-man defense). There are several different terms that describe other styles of play. For example, “passing to feet” vs. “passing to space” and “onball attacking” vs. “off-the-ball attacking”. With most formations you can use different styles of play.

When comparing styles of play, you can look to other sports for analogies. In American football, for example, the dominant style of play used to be the running game, but today more teams emphasize the pass than the run. The best teams recognize that a balanced attack that uses both the run and the pass is best. In American football, if a team only runs, the defense will crowd the offense to stop the run. In soccer, if a team only attacks with short passes, the opposing defenders will push up to the halfway line or farther. The threat of through balls and long balls “stretches the defense” and is what forces defenders to stay honest. Another analogy to American football is that when you have the ball near your goal you definitely do not want to turn the ball over. In American football, even the best teams will protect the ball and punt. For this reason, it is best for most rec soccer teams to clear the ball away from their goal if there is any pressure, and hope they can win the cleared balls at least 50% of the time. (Although if there isn’t pressure or you have skilled FB’s you can “build play from the back”).

If you watch a lot of professional soccer from different countries you will see that most good teams from around the world control the ball and build play in the midfield, but also incorporate through balls and long balls into their attack (i.e., they mix the indirect and direct styles of play). In fact, depending upon the league, between 15% and 30% of the goals scored are a result of through balls or long air balls.

The style of attack you teach your team should depend on the ability of your players, the amount of time you can practice, and your coaching ability. The style of attack that will work best also depends on the type of defense the other team plays (e.g., whether they are “pushed up” or “defending deep”) and whether your Forwards are faster than the other teams FB’s. For example, if the opposing FB’s push up and your Forwards are faster, you should try through balls and quick counterattacks. A select team that practices 4 hours per week can play a better short passing game than a typical rec team. In any case, you will want to teach the concepts of “First Attacker”, “Second Attacker”, and “Third Attacker”.

As for a defensive style of play, a “zone defense” and “First Defender/Second Defender” works best for most rec teams. This is because many rec FB’s don’t have the speed or stamina to play a man-to-man style of defense. How to teach a zone defense is explained at “Zone Defense” and at “Support”. (See “Attacking“, “Attacking Plan“, “Boom Ball“, “Counterattack“, “Creating Space“, “Direct Attack“, “Possession Style“, “Spread the Field“, “Stretched Defense“, “Through Ball“, “Long-Ball Game“, “Over the Top“, “Zone Defense“, “Support“, “First Attacker“, “Formations“, and the section titled “Scoring More Goals”).


Soccer Receive


(aka “Trap”). Receiving the soccer ball used to be called “trapping” the soccer ball, but today most people use the term “receiving”. Receiving is a very important skill that every coach should teach. A soccer player can “receive” the soccer ball on a pass or a loose ball. The soccer ball is usually received with the foot (inside, outside, top or bottom), but it can also be received with the chest, head, thigh, or any part of the body except the arms (the definition of “arm” is the movable part of the arm up to where the arm joins the shoulder). See “Trap” and “Hand Ball“. I strongly recommend you teach “Passing to Space” and “Aggressive Receiving” — Passing to Space is easier for beginning soccer players and will result in much better ball movement, better ball possession, use of Open Space and “field vision”. Aggressive Receiving is a better way to teach receiving and will result in a big improvement in your soccer players and their ability to retain the soccer ball.


Soccer Pass To Yourself


(aka “Pop It”). As soccer players get older & better, it becomes very difficult for an attacker to dribble past a defender & passing becomes very important. By U-12, your attack won’t work very well unless your soccer team can “pass”, “pass to space” & “pass to yourself”. One way to beat a defender is to “pass the ball to yourself” by passing the soccer ball to open space behind the defender & then beating him to it. The passer has the advantages of knowing where he is passing it & of forward momentum, while the defender must turn around and gain momentum. This is one way to get through the last line of defenders if they have “pushed up” & in that case is like passing a “through ball” to yourself. This works best if the attacker is faster than the defender. I tell attackers to “pop the ball” past the defender & ideally to chip it or kick an “airball” if they can, since an airball is hardest for a defender to block with his foot. Since they can run faster without dribbling than they can if they are dribbling, I tell them to pop it as far as they can while still beating the defender to it. For example, if they are on the right or left side, they can pop it farther than if they are in the center, because if they kick it too far down the center the goalkeeper will get it. If the defender is faster than the attacker, the attacker won’t be able to pop it very far or the defender will beat him to the soccer ball. Second Attackers and Third Attackers must move up with the soccer ball to support the First Attacker. If a defender gets the soccer ball, the attackers must pressure the defender to try to win back the soccer ball. If they can cause a turnover, they may have a scoring opportunity. (See “Through Ball“, “Hopped Pass“, “Creating Space“, “Verbal Signals“, “First Attacker” & “Pass“). How to teach “Passing to Space” and “Aggressive Receiving” are explained in SoccerHelp Premium.


Soccer Pass To Space


Teach players to “pass to space” (i.e., to “open space”) & teach receivers to anticipate passes to space, as opposed to “passing to feet”. These passes are sometimes called “leading passes” (if they are made to space in front of a receiver) or “through passes” (if they are through the defense into the open space behind the defense). This is a very important soccer concept to teach & one that I think should be introduced by U-8 & definitely by U-10. It becomes increasingly important, as soccer players become older, & is very important by U-12. An advantage of this style of play (as opposed to “passing to feet”) is that soccer players learn they must be alert and must go to the ball and not wait for the ball to come to them. Passing to space also encourages “movement off the ball”. (See “Creating Space“, “Leading Pass“, “Through Ball“, “Wall Pass“, “Formations“, “Attacking Plan“, “Styles of Play“, “Pass To Yourself“, “Open Space“, “Pass To Feet“. Also see the Section titled “Scoring More Goals”). I strongly recommend you teach “Passing to Space” and “Aggressive Receiving” — Passing to Space is easier for beginning soccer players and will result in much better soccer ball movement, better soccer ball possession, use of Open Space and “field vision”. Aggressive Receiving” is a better way to teach receiving and will result in a big improvement in your soccer players and their ability to retain the soccer ball.


Soccer Pass


A pass is a kick, or a ball played with the head, chest or thigh, that is intended to be received by a soccer teammate. Like in basketball, passing is preferable to dribbling because the soccer ball can be moved more quickly & can better be kept away from the other soccer team. By U-12, it is critical for a soccer team to be able to attack by passing. (See “Pass To Feet“, “Push Pass“, “Hopped Pass“, “Toe-Kick“, “Flick Pass“, “Pass To Space“, and “When To Dribble“). I strongly recommend you teach “Passing to Space” and “Aggressive Receiving” — Passing to Space is easier for beginning soccer players and will result in much better soccer ball movement, better soccer ball possession, use of Open Space and “field vision”. Aggressive Receiving is a better way to teach receiving and will result in a big improvement in your soccer players and their ability to retain the soccer ball.


Soccer Movement Off-The-Ball


This is a key concept & one of the most important things you can teach. Movement Off-The-Ball is important on both offense AND defense and is critical to support and good teamwork. It is the key to “off-the-ball attacking”. On offense, “movement
off-the-ball” refers to the movement by the ballhandler’s soccer teammates (the ballhandler is “onball”). The 2 types of movement off-the-ball which all coaches can teach soccer players U-10 & older are: having attackers stay a pass apart, and having receivers move away from the ballhandler as he approaches them in order to create space (i.e., so they are a pass apart). (See “Creating Space“, “Off-The-Ball“, “Third Man Running“, “Support” & “Diagonal Run”). I strongly recommend you teach “Passing to Space” and “Aggressive Receiving” — Passing to Space is easier for beginning soccer players and will result in much better soccer ball movement, better soccer ball possession, use of Open Space and “field vision”. Aggressive Receiving is a better way to teach receiving and will result in a big improvement in your soccer players and their ability to retain the soccer ball.


Soccer Center The Ball


(aka “Cross The Ball” or “Center It”). Refers to a soccer attacker kicking or passing the soccer ball to the area in front of the opponent’s soccer goal. Attackers often pass the ball to this space without having a receiver in mind because it can create a scoring opportunity. (This is called “passing to space”). This term is more descriptive of what you want a youth soccer team to do than “cross the ball”. (See “Cross The Soccer Ball“, “Creating Soccer Space“, “First Attacker“, & “Pass to Space“).