Photo: Jon Tan
Making a long pass or also known as a driven pass is imperative in modern football for teams to cover as much ground in the shortest time possible.
It is different from the short pass as it is designed for the receiving player to have wider room for attack or more room for defence - playing into space. Direct football as it is coined is where a team plays long passes to their forwards, typically a bulky target man good on his feet who can hold up play or create goal scoring opportunities.
Similar to a short pass, you need to have a mental checklist as you receive a long pass. Be aware of your body position, how close the ball is to your body, how close the player you want to pass to is and the situation of the receiving player.
Objectives of long passing
Long passes are typically used to switch up play such as making a quick counter-attacking break, changing from a crowded left flank to an open right or directly playing straight down the middle as seen in some soccer formations.
Ideally, you want to avoid having the ball to bounce before it reaches your teammate. A bouncing ball is harder to control and will cause greater opportunity to lose possession of the ball.
Remember these tips to execute a driven pass with speed and precision.
Similarly to a short pass, approach the ball at a 30-degree angle so you have room to swing your kicking leg through. Plant your non-kicking foot around 15cm beside the ball with your toes pointing towards your target, as you are about to strike and hold your arms out for better balance.
2. Striking the ball
Keeping your eyes on the ball at all times, rotate your ankles to strike the ball with the top of your foot where the laces are. The initial contact with the ball is crucial, your laces should strike the underside of the ball pushing upwards to achieve the intended height.
3. Follow Through
Similar to a short pass, your follow through will determine how powerful the pass is. To cover longer distances and at greater speed, a bigger follow through is required after contact with the ball has been made.
Some tips to take note, if you want to increase the height of the long pass, lean back further as you strike the ball. Alternatively, if you wish to keep your pass low, hit the centre of the ball and lean forward slightly.
Types of Long Passes
A driven pass simply means to get the ball from point A to B in the quickest time possible. This pass is simple yet effective because of the pace of the ball, making it difficult for defenders to intercept. Now, flex that foot and hit the ball with your laces almost like taking a shot to excecute that driven pass.
Through Pass/Weighted Pass
A though pass may be the most difficult pass to execute, a little too hard or a little weak will deem this pass useless. The concept of a through pass is to play the ball into space ahead of your teammate making it easy for them to run up to the ball giving them more momentum and speed. Mastering the art of a through pass can be tough but when executed right, can serve as a deadly threat to your opponent.
When to Use Long Passes
The situation the receiving player is in would determine what kind of long pass you would execute. If he is running into space, you will play it in front of him, also known as a through ball. If he is blocked off, you may want to play the ball to his feet.
Long passes would require a bit more reading of the game. However, when done right, it will create many striking opportunities.
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