Outdoor Training Sessions | Passing

Training - Passing

Standard warm-up (5–10 min/hr)


This warm-up drill should be used at the beginning of all the sessions, including this  session. This warm-up is designed to:

  • Start the practice with some light activity for the players.
  • Improve the player’s skill handling the ball.
Field setup and video

Place cones to form a rectangular-box shape. The box should be big enough to gives players room to move but not too big that the players cannot see each other or they cannot hear your calls.  For example with 10 players,  create a box approximately 20 by 30 yards. This box will be used for the entire training session.

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Balls: One per player.

Player dribbles ball around within box using all sides of both feet and then does one of the following moves called out by the coach for a few seconds. Then coach calls out to dribble  before calling next move.

  • Toe tapPlayer quickly taps bottom of toes on top of ball alternating between right and left foot. Hide
  • ShufflePlayer passes ball between the feet while lifting legs and jumping slightly. Hide
  • Step overWithout moving the ball the player steps over ball to the right with the right foot and then steps over the ball to the left with the left foot. Hide
  • Circle right or left with inside of footUsing the inside of one foot, the player moves the ball clockwise with left foot or counterclockwise with right foot. Hide
  • Circle right or left with outside of footUsing the outside of one foot, the player moves the ball clockwise with right foot or counterclockwise with left foot. Hide
  • Roll ballStanding behind or beside the ball, the player rolls the ball forward, left or right using the bottom of foot. Hide
  • PullbackPlayer dribbles ball forward a couple of steps and then pulls the ball back with bottom of right foot while turning 180 degrees. Player then dribbles a couple of steps and pulls ball back with bottom of left foot while turning 180 degrees. Hide
  • Shield ballUsing a combination of the circle left or right and the pullback with right foot or left, player moves forward and back in a half circle  to shield the ball from a pretend opponent. Leave it up to the player, but the player should be encouraged to use the weaker foot an equal amount of time as the stronger foot. Hide

Option. To add some fun to the drill, get the players to count the number of times they do each move and have them call out their score to create a bit of competition.

Coaching points

Encourage the players to:

  • Keep the ball close to maintain control.
  • Move as quickly as possible.
  • Keep their head up as much as possible.
  • When applicable, use both feet and use both sides of the foot.

Technique: Pass and follow (10–12 min/hr)


The purpose of this drill is to work on the fundamentals of making a good pass to a teammate and on controlling the ball when receiving a pass.

Field setup and video

Add a row of cones near the centre and adjust the cones on one end to create three or four passing lanes for this drill. One lane per minimum of three players.

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Balls: One ball per group.

  1. Divide players into groups of three or four.
  2. Assign the groups a lane.
  3. Have the groups line-up with two  at one end of the lane and the remaining group members at the other end of the lane.
  4. The player with the ball dribbles a couple of steps and then passes to the player at the end of their lane.
  5. The player who passes the ball, follows the ball and then runs to the end of the other line.
  6. The player receiving the pass, controls the pass, dribbles a few steps and then passes to the player at the end of their lane.

Options: For the more experienced players, try:

  • One touch to control and one touch to pass.
  • Short–short–long with groups of four:
    1. Player with ball passes to player beside them.
    2. Player passes back.
    3. Player passes down the lane to one of the other two players.
    4. Passing players move back to receive pass from other side.
Coaching points
  • Always on toes ready to receive the ball.
  • Contact the centre of the ball with the centre of the inside of the foot.
  • Firm, accurate, and on the ground passes.
  • Receive with inside of foot.
  • Always keep the ball moving.
  • No  stopping ball with bottom of foot (exception: U5/6).
  • Use both feet.
  • For short-short-long passing:
    • Angle of passing and receiving.
    • Play leading passes.
    • Body positioning.

Skill: 2 vs 2 (10–12 min/hr)


To further develop the skill of passing by introducing pressure with defenders.

Field setup and video

Similar setup as for Technique except make sure there is a goal on each end of the mini field, as indicated below.

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Balls: Coach keeps balls and feeds in one at a time.

  1. Divide the players into two teams and have one team put on the pinnies.
  2. Have half the players from team 1 line up in one corner in single file and the other half of the team line up in the nearest other corner.
  3. Do the same for  team 2 and have them line up at other end in the corners.
  4. You pass the ball to a player in one of the corners.
  5. The player receiving the ball tries to pass to their teammate from the other corner and ultimately to score on the other team’s goal as the players from the other team try to take the ball away.
  6. If the ball goes out or a goal is scored, players return to their corner to the back of the line.
Coaching points
  • Control the ball when receiving the initial pass.
  • Keep head up to make a decision to dribble or pass.
  • Don’t allow the players to just “boot” the ball. If they do, stop the play, and play the ball in again until they are successful at making at least one pass.

Small-sided game: Switch (20-25 min/hr)


The purposes of the small-sided games are to:

  • Let the players have some fun. Most players prefer to play a game to doing drills.
  • Give the players an opportunity to practice what they have learned.
  • Get the players ready to play a real game against another team.
Field setup and video

Remove any cones from inside the box and convert or make sure the end lines  have three goals.

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Balls: Coach keeps and feeds in balls one in at a time.

  1. Divide the players into two teams and have one team put on the pinnies.
  2. Divide each team into two groups.
  3. For each team, have half the team move into positions inside the playing field and the other half line up along their end line.
  4. On “Go!”, have one team start with the ball and try to get the ball into the other team’s goal.
  5. At appropriate intervals, such as when a goal is scored or the ball goes off the side, tell the players to switch. On “Switch”, the inside players move to the end line and the end line players move into the field. When necessary, to keep the game moving, the coach feeds new ball in to restart game.
  6. On restarts, use “Go!” and defenders can’t move until the first pass is received.
Coaching points
  • Help the players make the right decision on when to dribble, pass, and change direction.
  • This is where the following teaching techniques are used most: Direct command; Question and answer; Guided discovery.
  • Let the players play to get a flow going and give them a feel for a game situation, but look for opportunities to stop the play and teach them what they did wrong or right using one of the teaching techniques.