Re-thinking Soccer Passing Patterns

When most people think of a soccer passing pattern, they often think of the ball being passed around in some pre-set routine, as players wait at different colored cones for their next chance to touch the ball. Watching patterns may even look a little robotic, with players often losing focus, as the quality of the pattern diminishes. However, that does not have to be the case, using soccer passing patterns can be a highly beneficial part of training, if the patterns are designed and implement implemented in a challenging way. That is not to say that the idea of rote learning (same type of repetition over and over) isn’t beneficial, but too much of the same routine with little variation and change, can lead to a decreased benefit for the player.

There will be many different viewpoints on patterns but my belief is that they can be designed to deliver many different types of challenging experiences for players. Of course passing patterns can be designed to be very game model realistic, rehearsing specific positional movements in the exact spaces they will be carried out in the game. These types of game model and positional patterns are the most common types of patterns most coaches are exposed to. However, patterns can also be more creative, leaving room for some outcomes to be explored by the players. Patterns can be designed to stimulate unique touches on the ball, build cognitive abilities, increase fitness levels or they can simply be done to engrain specific technical skills at speed. When I train patterns I look for the following to be in place; perform the pattern at a challenging speed, make sure there is correct coordination and timing of movement between players, eye contact between passer and receiver, the technical skills used should fit the patterns tempo, and the overall rhythm of the pattern should be in line with what the coach is asking for. The entire pattern does not have to be extremely fast, maybe parts of it are fast and parts are slow, it all depends on how it is designed and the techniques used.


Number of Players: 5-6

Objective: This exercise works on first touch and creative ways to lift or chip the ball.

Description: This pattern is very similar to the previous patterns, but pass #5 is now must be another lifted pass over the cones. Make the exercise more difficult by making each pass 1-touch. As the players become proficient at the exercise, encourage them to increase the tempo and speed of the exercise.


Link to my new book:  Modern Creative Soccer Passing Patterns Build Passing Rhythm, Increase Passing Speed, Improve Technique, Develop Creativity in Passing, Increase Game Intelligence and Gain Fitness

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