The emergence of futsal offers the opportunity for year-round soccer training and play. Here are five passing drills which can be used with any age group and ability level and which will help to improve the technical skills and teamwork of soccer players. In these futsal drills, the white dots are defenders. The small black dot is the ball. Black arrows show the direction of movement of the ball, red arrows movement of the team in possession and white arrows movement of the defense.
Warm Up Wall Passing (Use a player if no wall is available)
A good, gentle drill for warming up. The activity works with anything from two to eighteen players. Set up the hall as per the diagram but using each wall and with a goalkeeper at each end if numbers dictate.
Player A makes a wall pass from between the first set of cones, and moves on to receive the return, aiming for the pass to arrive between the second set of cones. With younger or less able players, simply make this target area larger. The player must then position themselves to perform one of the following scenarios. If the pass is successful, they move onto the wall return pass, take one touch and shoot. If their pass was not successful, they take the return, dribble it to the second set of cones, and perform a wall pass back to the first set.
In other words, they only get the reward of a shot at goal if their pass is accurate.
As soon as either the shot is made, or the first pass is unsuccessful, the player from the opposite wall repeats the exercise. If numbers do not require a second set of players opposite, then the second player in the queue goes.
- Pass firmly with the instep
- Head over the ball to ensure it stays on the ground
- Get into position quickly to receive the wall return pass; this gives more time to get the first touch right
- First touch takes the ball to 45 degrees from the body, about 20-30 cm from the shooting foot
- Pass with the outside of the foot, a much harder skill as the ball will ‘spin’ off the wall
- Take the first touch with the outside of the foot of the outside leg, then shoot hard and low towards the far post
Train Pass Training
This is a fun passing drill which can include an element of competitiveness to increase motivation, especially with younger players whose main motivation is the ‘game at the end’. It requires players pass and move, get their first touch right and work as a team.
The drill is simple to explain but challenging to get right. Six players line up as per the diagram, in two lines of three. They pass across the gap, and move to the end of their lines, approximately two metres from their end team mate. With younger players who find this gap hard to estimate, cone markers can be laid out.
If a pass is wayward, a player may retrieve it and dribble it back to where the pass should have been played before making the next move.
An end cone signals the ‘shooting mark’, when this is reached the player there passes the ball into the goal. By having a second team of six opposite, the drill can have the added thrill of a competition added.
- Competition can make players rush; coach players to focus on the key elements of the pass:
- Head over the ball, strike with the instep firmly
- Drop the foot slightly on receipt to cushion the ball slightly away from and to the side of the body
- Do not move until the pass has been played, then as soon as the ball leaves the foot move quickly
- Stay focussed and calm, especially with younger players. Do not let their excitement put pressure on their team mates
There are several ways that this drill can be developed:
- One touch passing
- Reducing teams from three on each side to two
- Passing with the outside of the foot
Break and Pass
This more advanced drill encourages player to use the sole of their foot to control a pass dead, taking advantage of the perfect playing surface. It is played across the width of the pitch and involves four players. Two are feeders, two are movers. The feeder plays the ball into their team mate, who controls the ball with their sole, turns sharply and dribbles into the middle zone. Here they must break to one side or the other, as though beating an opponent, before rolling the ball on with the sole once more.
They then pass to the opposite feeder and receive a return pass before repeating the exercise. Roles are changed every two minutes.
- Mover receiving foot raised and angled to trap ball; arms out for balance, hips dropped for low centre of balance
- Dip the shoulder to turn, either way
- Knock the ball a short distance using the outside of the foot
- Use the hips and shoulders to throw dummies and change the direction of movement
- Pass with the instep
- Outside of the foot passing
- Sole of the foot passing (rolling the ball firmly)
- Introduce limited opposition in the middle zone. Too much opposition and the drill will break down
Mixed Bag Passing
This fast-paced drill can be developed into a rondo activity with the addition of a single defender once players become competent. It aims to develop quick thinking, competence passing with the inside, outside and sole of the foot, and communication skills.
Using one touch passing, call the name of the player to whom the pass is made. Receiving player must control the ball using a different part of the foot to the way it was played. For example, if the pass is made with the sole, it must be controlled with the inside or outside of the foot, not the sole.
- Communicate clearly and early
- Pass accurately and sympathetically, because the receiver is calculating how to receive the pass
- First touch prepares the next pass to be made
- Add a defensive player to turn drill into a rondo
- Add passing restrictions, for example:
- Cannot pass with the same part of the foot as previous player
- First time passing
- Only pass to the left
Rondo Passing Game
This is a good development drill which encourages accurate passing and team work. Play four v three (two and a keeper) across the whole pitch. The five have three minutes to score as many goals as they can. Three points for a goal, two for a shot on target, one for a shot, to add to the competitive element.
Defenders allowed only in their own half, so there is always a get out ball for the side in possession. Limit the number of touches, two is perfect, but more with weaker or younger players. When possession is lost, the attacking side must win it back as quickly as possible.
Set a shooting line outside which shots are not permitted.
- Encourage movement to find space
- Encourage different passing styles
- Insist on communication
- Encourage the defense not to drop too deep, rather to pressure the ball
- Add an additional defender
- Reduce permitted touches
There are some handy ideas online as well, for example clicking on this link –
leads to some visuals of straightforward futsal passing drills.
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