Pass, Pass, Pass…Pass the ball
My current soccer coach is a Brazilian named Bento. Read more on Bento by clicking here. Bento barely speaks English, however, his small vocabulary of the English language actually simplifies what he’s trying to express and as a result many players have a better understanding of what he is asking.
Some of the most basic but important parts of the game of soccer are passing the ball. Bento always says “pass, pass, pass, pass the ball.” What he means by this is the ball should be continually moving. In addition, the ball should move on the ground and the near/safe pass should be made before continually switching the play. There is no reason to make a 60 yard pass that will only become intercepted, nor is there any reason to force a difficult pass. And when one player was hogging the ball he stopped the play and said “does this ball have your name on it? Why won’t you pass it?” After all, it’s a valid point.
Even in training when we perform a drill where we have 30 seconds on offense to score, Bento, still wants us to pass and keep the ball for the first 20 seconds passing it on the ground and then try to score in the last 10 seconds.
A result of all of this passing is the play starts to develop in more ways than imagined. It tires out the other team and they can easily become exposed for a quick counter attack, through ball or individual effort. Unfortunately, for whatever reason many coaches do not stress passing the ball on the ground enough and settle for the unattractive, uncreative kick and chase (or as in hockey, dump and chase).
The best professional team that displays this type of ground ball possession is FC Barcelona. Yes they may have some of the best players in the world which makes playing this style of soccer easier, however, it is stressed that all players, no matter the current group or future group of Barcelona must play the ground ball passing game.
Watch highlights of FC Barcelona absolutely cut apart Panathinaikos Athens in the early stages of Champions League 2010-2011. The highlights are a bit lengthy but watching how calm the players are under extreme pressure and seeing them still make the right pass is beautiful to see. They make the game look so simple. After all, this is what soccer is all about.