Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Long passes open up tired defences

When play is down the centre of the pitch, clubs are often criticized for playing direct long passes to the attackers. However if the pass is a good one it can create quick goal scoring opportunities.

A long pass is different to a long ball and if the opposition defence opens up and the attacker sees the chance to run into space in view of their team mates then they should do it.

Playing long passes doesn’t mean you’ve sold out and are playing the long ball game, they mean just that they are playing a passing game over a greater distance.

Long passes can be counter attacks that catch out the opposition especially when they are getting tired towards half-time or full-time. It does require good skills from the passer and the the player receiving the ball, and may require the receiver to adapt to the bounce of the ball or choice of left and right foot.

It is worth practicing with your players because they can use the long pass as an option in attack when they are finding it difficult to pass the ball up the pitch.

On my blog I have posted a diagram and drill to practice the long pass.

Try this exercise
Use 6 players for this drill to get accurate long passes.

  • Strike the bottom half of the ball and hit an imaginary vertical line that bisects the ball.
  • Strike with the laces.
  • Keep the ankle firm, extend the kicking foot.
  • Lean back slightly.
  • Sweep through and across the ball.
  • How to set it up
    In an area approx 10×40 yards, all the players stand in two lines at opposite ends and take it in turns to hit lofted passes. Switch to weaker foot.

    Advance it by putting one player in each of the middle two zones. The player at the end side foots a pass along the ground to the centre of the playing area, where the nearest player returns it on their second touch. The player at the end controls it, then hits a lofted pass to the far side over the heads of both players in the middle. The sequence is repeated at the opposite end.

    Watch this long pass from Tottenham’s Tom Huddlestone:


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