In this post we'll discuss basic passing and trapping techniques to give the kids an idea of what we're looking for going into the first practice.
The push pass is the most accurate method of moving the ball. You want to use the inside of your foot (toes up, toes out) and deliver a solid kick through the ball to your teammate. Sometimes you will be passing to where your teammate is, but more often then that you'll need to pass the ball into open space ahead of your teammate. Just as important as location of the pass is the pace. That means we can't have slow dribblers getting stolen or rocket balls that are impossible to handle. The passes need to have the proper speed on them to get to the target at the right time, so that your teammate isn't waiting for a ball when he could be breaking away with it.
We'll be working passing to moving targets as well as passing while moving. It is important to be able to pass well with both feet. If an opponent knows you can only use your right foot well, he can pressure that side to force you to your weak foot and force a mistake.
The push pass is also effective for shooting into the goal accurately. We don't need to always blast the ball off our laces into outer space when we can get a fast push pass shot into the lower corner of the goal where the goalkeeper won't be able to save it.
This video demonstrates the push pass technique as well as some drills that I like to use:
Just as important as passing the ball is being able to receive that ball. This is called "trapping" the ball. We need to be able to trap the ball on the first touch to get control and make that next move. Like passing, we use the inside of our foot, raising the foot slightly off the ground to about the height of the "equator" of the ball. This way the ball won't roll over our foot and get behind us. As the ball comes in, you'll need to bring your receiving foot back to cushion the ball and take the momentum out of it so you can control it.
The first touch should normally put the ball 1-2 steps in front you or to the side away from any pressure. This way you can step into the ball and make the next pass or shot if needed, or dribble if you have space.
This video demonstrates the technique we look for in trapping the ball: