Passing can be defined as the technical action carried out by a football player in order to send the ball to a teammate. The main objectives of passing are: to advance the game, to break free from an opponent’s pressure, to control the opposing team and to create goal-scoring opportunities.
However, there are a few things to bear in mind when attempting to make a pass:
- If a player of the opposing team is standing still, it is not advisable to carry out a pass in front of him.
- When the player is moving towards an area with enough free space, he will ask for the ball in front of him.
- A well-executed pass is essential for the team, as it allows the team to retain the initiative of the game.
- Both the player making the pass and the player receiving the pass must have a good attitude.
The contact surfaces with the ball are multiple: the foot, the head, the thigh and the trunk, the hands as well, but they can only be used by goalkeepers for clearances, saves and goal kicks. The rest of the players can only use them to put the ball into play at throw-ins.
In turn, there are three basic contact surfaces on the foot to make a pass: the instep, the outer zone and the inner zone, the latter being one of the most used by footballers. Multiple actions can be carried out using the inside of the foot, such as a drive, a mid-range pass and a shot at goal, which will depend on both the strength and the objective of the player. On this particular contact surface the ball impacts at the level of the big toe, which causes the ball to rotate inwards.
The inside of the foot is often used for short passes, as it provides greater accuracy by causing the ball to travel low to the ground, which also makes it easier for the teammate to receive the ball. In addition, this contact surface will help the player to better control the area to which he wants to direct the ball. The inside of the foot is usually used for medium range passes, as this is a more specific type of pass.
Phases of the inside pass
Depending on whether the player is left-handed or right-handed, this is the starting position in relation to the ball. In any case, he should always lean slightly towards the side where his supporting leg is.
Pre-run: in the event that the player needs to make a run before making the pass, he must control his speed during the run, always taking into account the distance between him and the ball. Special attention must be paid to balance and coordination of movements.
- Supporting foot: this must be placed at the height of the ball. When the pass is made with the right foot, the left foot must be placed right next to the ball, and depending on the direction in which you want to send the ball, so must be the approach made with the toe of the foot. If the pass is made through the inside instep, the supporting foot has to be a little further away from the ball than in the inside pass.
- Supporting leg: once the foot of the supporting leg is completely on the ground, the knee of the supporting leg should be slightly bent in order to find the necessary balance.
- Arms: in order to maintain balance, the arms must be slightly open and slightly bent.
Moment of contact
The strike shall be frontal. The leg with which the pass is to be made must be thrown against the ball with the required force towards the centre of the ball. In order to give height, the strike shall be made from underneath the ball.The player’s leg should be turned from the hip outwards while the knee is slightly bent. The body must be bent forward, and the opposite arm to the executing leg must also be forward, while keeping the elbow slightly bent. Both the ankle and knee joints, in addition to remaining slightly flexed, must also be tense at the moment of the strike.
Timing of contact
The strike shall be frontal. The leg with which the pass is to be made must be thrown against the ball with the precise force towards the centre of the ball. In order to give height, the strike shall be made from underneath the ball.
The player’s leg should be turned from the hip outwards while the knee is slightly bent. The body must be bent forward, and the opposite arm to the executing leg must also be forward, while keeping the elbow slightly bent. Both the ankle and knee joints, in addition to remaining slightly flexed, must also be tense at the moment of the strike.
The movement must be completed in a natural way, following the inertia of the stroke, which will make the player move slightly towards the striking leg. In this phase the arms will also help to maintain balance.
Inside Passing Exercises
- Exercise 1
In pairs, the players must stand facing each other approximately five metres apart. One of the members of the pair has to make a low pass to his partner, who will control the ball, according to the instructions given by the coach, and then return it to him. The ball must be hit with the inside of the foot, tracing an imaginary straight line from the right foot of one player to the left foot of the other. Subsequently, the exercise can also be performed diagonally, i.e. from right foot to right foot. Two cones can even be placed along the path of the ball as a goal, so that when the player makes the pass, the ball can pass through them. In this way, a progression factor can be introduced.
- Exercise 2
The players stand in pairs in front of each other at a distance of ten metres. The pass must be stronger than in the previous exercise, and the player receiving the pass must also perform a back check. It is very important to dive for the ball in order to cushion this control. It is also necessary to look where you want to send the ball before making the inside pass.
- Exercise 3
In pairs, one of the players holds the ball with both hands while the other one hits the ball alternately with both feet, as well as their different contact surfaces. Then, his partner will throw the ball to him and he will have to touch it with the inside of his foot.
- Exercise 4
The player has to tap the ball with the inside of the foot while creating a figure. Therefore, he/she only has to hit the ball when he/she wants it to change direction.
- Exercise 5
Passes are made between three players five metres apart. It is compulsory for the players to keep moving and change positions throughout the exercise. It is also necessary that they raise their heads to see where their team-mate is and carry out the inside pass in front of him.
- Exercise 6
Passes are made between two team-mates without prior control, i.e. with the first touch. To do this, they must face each other at a distance of three metres. The player must never wait for the ball to come to him, but dive for it, i.e. the player must hit the ball, not the ball hitting the player.
- Exercise 7
This exercise involves four players, three of whom pass the ball to each other while the fourth tries to snatch the ball. It is essential to respect the measurements of the round: four cones are placed to delimit the space, which must be separated from each other at a distance of two metres. If the player in the centre of the circle manages to steal the ball, he becomes one of the three passers, while the player guilty of losing the ball must move to the centre of the circle. Team-mates must support the player with the ball at all times, one or two touches may be given to the ball before the pass is made and the player with the ball must be able to make a decision in the face of opposition.
- Exercise 8
The team is divided into two teams. The exercise consists of carrying out a series of consecutive passes without the opposing team stealing the ball.