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Passing is one of the most important soccer skills you can have. It requires precision, communication, control, and speed—and these skills do not come naturally.
It's one thing to be precise; it's another to maintain accuracy while under the immense pressure of soccer games.
To perfect your soccer passes, you need to practice, practice, take a quick break, and then practice more.
The good news is that there are lots of soccer drills to improve your passing. That's why I've made a list of my favorite (and effective) passing drills to improve your accuracy, technique, and quick thinking.
Most of them require a fellow soccer player, and many of these drills need cones. All of them will show you the results you want as long as you apply yourself.
Are you ready? Let's go!
Gated Speed Passing
This gated speed passing drill is a simple exercise for practicing good passing. You'll need one partner and two cones, an absolute staple when it comes to necessary training equipment for your team. Put the cones on the ground horizontally in between you and your partner. The cones should be about a yard apart.
The serving player passes the ball to the other player through the two cones and then to either side of the cones. The receiving player must pass it back to the server and then return to position.
The gated speed drill helps you practice your one-touch passes, but you can also do two-touch passes. Try and get a good rhythm going, and try to pass the ball back to your partner before it passes the cones.
The looped passing drill is a great way to practice using the correct amount of force when you pass the ball.
This drill requires at least one partner, and each person will need a cone. This soccer drill is a good one for young players.
Move the ball back and forth, alternating between passing in a clockwise and counterclockwise motion. If you receive the soccer ball on the righthand side of your cone, you should return it to your partner from the lefthand side of your cone.
Just keep going in a circular motion. You'll be able to keep up a good pace if you touch the ball at 45 degrees.
Triangle Touch Passing
Set up three cones in a triangle. The sides should be about 10 yards in length. Have one player stand at each cone. Alternate between sending the ball around the triangle in a clockwise and counterclockwise motion.
When a player gets possession of the ball, they must take it to the next cone and touch pass it to the next player. The fourth player joins the drill when player one makes their pass.
Scrimmages are a great way to practice passing for soccer games because they force you to communicate with your teammates.
The 7v7 scrimmage is a drill that gives players practical training. You can play on the whole field, which allows players to take advantage of extra space. Alternatively, you can move a goalpost to the center of the field and play small-sided games.
Another great type of scrimmage is a 6v6v2 scrimmage. Yes, you read that right—there is an additional team of two players in this game. The extra two players are there to serve as an extra obstacle. They can intercept the ball from either of the larger teams and score in either net, but they can only pass the ball to each other.
In the 6v6v2 scrimmage, players have to work harder to control the ball.
Driven Ball Drill
The driven ball drill is a fantastic drill for practicing straight passes through tight spaces using your laces.
Get a partner to practice with and create a narrow lane with cones. The lane should be no wider than five yards, no less then 30 yards long. You can also use the lines on the soccer field as a guide instead of cones.
Stand on the opposite side of the lane from your partner.
Drive the ball by passing it to your partner with your laces, and keep the ball's curve in the air below knee height. Try to keep the ball near the ground, but don't let it roll.
Alternate between your feet. Try to pass with no more than two touches.
Long Ball Drill
This is very useful and it's one of the simplest soccer passing drills out there. Get a partner and stand as far away from each other as you can. Then, pass the ball back and forth. Alternate your feet and try to add some air spin to the ball, and try to send it directly to your partner's feet to practice accuracy.
Alternatively, you can pass the ball to different parts of the field to improve your passing AND your speed.
Two Touch Box Drill
This drill is for working on passing and receiving the ball as swiftly and accurately as possible. It's very similar to the Long Ball drill, but this drill focuses more on improving your precision.
You'll need one partner, eight cones, and a soccer ball.
Each partner needs to set up boxes 30 yards across from each other. The sides of your box should be about five yards wide.
The idea is to practice sending the soccer ball in the air to a precise spot on the field. In this case, that spot is the center of your partner's box.
When you receive the ball, position it in the center of your box before you pass it back to your partner.
You want the ball to go high in the air before, ideally, landing smack dab in the middle of your friend's area. Alternate your kicking foot each time you pass the ball.
This is a great drill for helping young players improve their accuracy!
Fast Passing Drill
This is a great way to learn how to control the ball while moving quickly. You'll need two small teams of players (ideally four players each) and a square area of at least 10 yards by 10 yards. Put a cone in the center of the square.
The two teams stand in single file on opposite corners of the square. Player one dribbles the soccer ball to the cone and then passes it to player two, who is standing at the front of their line. Then, player one runs backward to rejoin their original line.
This is a well-rounded drill that helps you practice lots of crucial skills that are necessary when playing in a game. It's not just about passing, it's about passing with coordination and speed, and it trains you to be prepared for the ball to return to you when you're running backward.
Practice Creating Space
It's one thing to be able to pass a ball accurately, but it's another thing to be able to pass and receive the ball when opponents are guarding you.
The ability to create space to receive a pass is crucial to the game of soccer.
In this drill, you'll work on receiving the ball and passing it back while being guarded by a defender.
You can do this drill with three to six players. You'll also need four cones and a ball.
Let's say you're playing with three people. Set the cones up in a square with dimensions of about 10 yards by 15 yards.
The server stands on the side of the pitch while the forward must create space to receive the ball. Once the forward has the ball, they must pass it back to the server.
Each player should take turns being the server, attacker, and a defender.
You can also practice this drill with more players if you create a bigger area. In that case, one server would stand at each corner of the area, so the forward has to pass the ball in different directions and run all over the place to create space. This drill is also a great way to improve your ball control.
If you don't have another soccer player to practice your passing with, there are lots of ways that you can benefit from practicing your passing and receiving with a wall. Of the soccer drills to improve your passing, practicing with the wall can help you with your coordination and precision at a quick pace.
Practice making calculated passes with your knees, feet, and head. Start by getting a good back and forth going with just your right leg. Find a precise spot on the wall and aim for it. See how long you can control the ball with that one body part.
See if you can do it 100 times without letting the ball bounce on the ground.
You can also alternate between which body parts you use, and practice this drill at home.