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Passing Drill: Passing Alley


In a match situation the ability to give and receive the ball from all angles is critical. This drill teaches players to control incoming passes from all angles, and re distribute the ball while rapidly moving from one point to another on the pitch. This technique of forming small passing triangles has been used by both the Spanish national team (the current World Champions) and Barcelona F.C. (the current World Club Champions) to great effect, exhausting opponents who are forced to cover huge distances over the course of a game and must remain mentally alert to a threat that continually shifts position around the pitch.

Before beginning the drill mark out a lane about thirty yards long with cones or markers every ten yards. Position one player to either side of each marker and about five yards away from it. You should now have an "alley" with the cones marking the center of the alley, and a line of three players either side of the alley. Remaining players are now split into two groups who face each other from opposite ends of the alley. A ball is given to the player at the front of one line - he must immediately pass it on to one of the two players beside the first cone and progress to the first cone to receive the return pass. Once it is played he must now feed in the second man, and rapidly get to the second cone. This time he will be receiving a pass coming from diagonally behind him, either his left or right side. Again he must interchange passes with both players either side of him before advancing to the final cone. Once all three cone bases have been covered and all players either side of the alley have been involved, the player running through the alley plays the ball to the first man in the group waiting on the far side of the alley. He then joins the back of that group, and the second player navigates his way through the alley.

Quality of passing is most important here, followed by speed. This can be a tough drill for some players -as ever ensure a positive, encouraging environment is created. Make sure they understand in soccer, possession is king, a misplaced pass costs time and energy to retrieve, and can leave a side vulnerable to counter attack, whereas a well placed pass forces the opposition to work harder, creates space, and helps build quality scoring opportunities.

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