Passing the Ball: Everything You May Not Know

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Video Passing the ball soccer
Passing the ball: The best soccer players are often the best passers of the ball. Players in all positions should improve this important skill.

In a game, one pass can make all the difference. One great pass can slice through your opponent and lead to a goal. One poor pass can put your team in a dangerous situation and immediately put your team under pressure.

Passing is simple but difficult to master. This article will show you everything about passing a ball in soccer.

What does passing mean in soccer?

Passing is a way for players to move the ball around the field by keeping it away from the other team. Passing successfully means keeping the ball amongst your teammates and creating goal-scoring opportunities.

Great players will think multiple moves ahead to where the ball should go long after it’s left their foot.

Passing and advancing the ball into the attacking third requires more than just movement of the ball. Players must be thinking ahead to find the right space to be in.

Passing the ball allows teams to move around defending players in a way that dribbling does not. It’s a faster, more efficient way to move the ball and often more difficult to defend than dribbling.

Properly weighted and crisp passes make seamless movements around the field and can wear down your opponent.

Why do soccer players pass so much?

In soccer, one of the best ways to have control is to have the ball as much as possible. If you have the ball, the other team does not. If you have the ball, you can score, and the opposition cannot. When you pass, you retain possession and dictate the play.

Controlling the variables is one of the surest ways to reach a favorable outcome. When two teams are competing, anyone can win on a given day. Ultimately, the team that makes the least mistakes will most likely come away victorious.

Why’s passing so important in soccer?

It’s important to stretch teams out, and finding even the smallest gaps to score takes patience and skill. Once they find the opening they’re looking for, the build-up is completed with a final ball finished into the back of the net.


For fans and coaches, one of the most exciting parts of the game is determining how to match up against your opponent’s style of play. Teams with a more possession-based system might see much of the ball during a game.

Their tactics can be nullified by a strong defending side that uses long balls over the top to get behind the backline and apply pressure to the opposing defense.

Types of Soccer Passes

Standard Pass

To do a standard pass, turn your hip outward, lift your leg to the side, then pass the ball with the inside of your foot.

Point your place foot and body at your target. Follow through at your target.

Use the standard pass to pass the ball on the ground. You will use this pass often, so master the proper technique.

Lofted Pass

Use the lofted pass for long passes across the field, when you need to pass over a defender’s head, and when crossing a soccer ball.

To do a lofted pass, put your place foot out wide horizontally, kick the bottom of the ball with the area around the knuckle of your big toe, then follow through.

When you follow through your leg should be high. This step is huge. I had trouble getting enough height on my lofted passes until I learned to follow through correctly.

This pass should be firm, but not as strong as a shot. If your passes have too much power you aren’t kicking the bottom of the ball or are following through incorrectly.

Chipped Pass

The chipped pass is similar to a lofted pass only the ball stays longer in the air and has more backspin.

Use the chipped pass when passing a short distance through the air. For instance, say you are playing wingback and the winger is a short distance away. He makes a run past the opposing winger toward the corner flag. If you play a chipped pass the ball will go over the opposing winger and your teammate will get to the ball before the opposing wingback gets to it.

Whether you use a chipped or lofted pass depends on the situation. Sometimes both passes would be effective. However, one usually works better than the other. You will learn which pass to use as you practice them in games.

To perform this pass, kick the grass under the ball and follow through slightly.

Soccer Passing Tips

1. Develop a vision

Vision is how well you can see potential passes. Effective passers have good technique and vision.

Read our article, How to Develop Vision in Soccer for more information.

2. Master every type of pass

New passing options open up when you learn every type of pass.

Every advanced player should be able to do things like pass the ball over the defender’s head to a forward and chip the ball over the opposing center midfielder to a forward.

Develop your lofted and chipped passing technique. You will become a more effective passer.

3. Use the through pass

To perform a “through pass” pass the ball ahead of your target into space. Your teammate will run to the pass.

You can use a standard, lofted, or chipped pass to play through the pass. Which one you choose depends on the situation.

For example, if your forward is close to the goal and there are gaps between the defenders, use a standard through the pass. The standard pass is the easiest to control and the grass slows the ball down so the keeper won’t get to it before your team’s forward.

In the same situation, you would use a chipped pass if there weren’t any gaps between defenders to pass through.

An example of when to use a lofted through the pass is when you are in the defensive half and see the forward making a run toward the goal. A standard through pass will get slowed by the grass and will get intercepted by defenders. A chipped pass is too slow and will get headed away by defenders in this situation.

The through pass can be deadly. A good passer sees opportunities for through passes – even when his teammates are tightly marked.

4. Play the simple pass

Retaining possession is as simple as finding open teammates close to you and passing the ball.

Playing a simple pass is often your best option.

Passing the ball around annoys and tires the defense, creating gaps that you can exploit.


Don’t force passes to tightly marked players. Don’t use a lofted-through pass repeatedly. Don’t play through passes constantly.

Play the simple pass consistently and your team will retain possession.

5. Pass often

Many players dribble far too often.

Dribbling is tiring, makes getting injured more likely, and allows defenders to get back on defense.

Dribbling has its place, but passing is a better option in most situations.

Try passing more. You will be more effective on the pitch.

6. Pass Fast

The faster you pass the ball, the less time the opposition has to mark you and your teammates.

Good players make good passes fast. Making fast passes requires good awareness, passing technique, ball control, first touch, and vision.

This skill takes time to learn. Playing at a high level is the best way to learn this skill. The higher the level, the less time you have, so you will naturally pass the ball faster.

7. Get a partner

If you are serious about improving your passing technique pass outside of practice.

Find a partner that will pass with you on a consistent basis. You will improve your passing ability quicker than other players.

8. Master correct pace

Putting the correct pace on the ball is tough to master but vital to improving your passes.

If you pass the ball with too little pace defenders may intercept it and you slow down your team unnecessarily. If you put too much pace on your passes they will go to the opposing keeper, out of bounds, and will be hard to receive.

That being said, it’s better to pass a ball with too much pace than too little. Make a firm pass when you pass directly to a teammate.

Mastering the correct pace is difficult because no two passing situations are the same. You will improve your pass pace when you practice game-like situations.

Final thought

Passing is the most important soccer skill. There are many ways to use passing to your advantage. And players at all levels must continue to improve their passing ability.

Players who can perfectly place passes to teammates make teams very dangerous.

Passing will be the most important aspect regardless of your philosophy on the style of play. To the untrained eye, it may not always look spectacular.

When you see the tactics all come together, a perfectly placed pass completes the build-up to a goal, and it all makes sense. The joy of the beautiful game is found in one fundamental skill – the pass.

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