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How do I execute a long pass in football?

Football Long Pass
File Photo Credit: Jon Tan

By John Yeong

MASTER YOUR FOOTBALL TECHNIQUE (2): LONG PASSES

Making a long pass is imperative in modern football for teams to cover as much ground in the shortest time possible. 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

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.


3 Tips on Executing a Long Pass

1. Approach the ball at an angle of about 30 degrees, plant your non-kicking foot just beside the ball as you are about to strike it. Hold your arms out for better balance.

2.  Keeping your eyes on the ball at all times, strike the ball with the top of your foot where the laces are. Where you make contact with the ball is important, with your foot striking under the ball and your body leaning back to achieve greater lift in your pass, while you should hit the centre of the ball and lean forward if you wish to keep your pass low.

3. Similar to the short pass, your follow through will determine how powerful the pass is. To cover longer distances and at greater speed a bigger follow through with your kicking foot is needed after contact with the ball has been made.

Long Pass Technique Football

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. 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. With short passes, play is usually more direct and straight forward. 

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