Stop Passing so Much in Soccer

“Pass!  Pass! Pass!”

I’m reminded of that scene in Rush Hour 2 where Jackie Chan is telling Chris Tucker that Chinese “don’t freak out under pressure,” to which (carter) responds: “Oh yeah, when Godzilla be coming, y’all be trippin’: “Giaca Giaca!””

It’s the same with soccer parents, other players, and coaches…  They all say the right things and act like they are the “reasonable person” while everyone else is the “crazy soccer parent.”


The second the pressure of the game arrives, you become like the crazy person Carter is describing and yells: “Pass, Pass Pass!”

Imagine if you’re a player though.

You’re playing in a game where you might get the ball for a total of 45 seconds or less during an entire game!  And then after so much effort, running here, running there, covering, defending, etc… you finally get your golden chance to touch the ball and the second you do…

Parents and coaches and other players start screaming “pass the ball! pass the ball!”

I’m reminded of another movie (last one I promise) where in Finding Nemo the seagulls would continuously scream “mine mine mine!”

So once again, imagine the pressure. You get the ball and immediately people are telling you to pass it off???


After all that work and you’re immediately under pressure to get rid of the ball?  Dang, but if I don’t want to make some magic happen you know?

Ok, so your thinking goes as a player, coach or parent; “but it’s good to pass.”  And yes you’re right.  It is good to pass.  BUT, is it good to immediately feel pressure to pass the SECOND you get the dang dernit ball?  Should I ALWAYS pass as quickly as possible after receiving it?

No.  First off, it’s simply bad soccer to develop a mindset thinking you need to pass as quickly as possible upon receiving ball EVERY SINGLE TIME you get it…

It just is…

In fact that mindset can be terrible for your game. You think the world’s best player developed awesome foot-skills, dribbling and 1v1 ability by passing it off the second they got it EVERY SINGLE TIME???

Sometimes you need to slow the game down.  Sometimes you need to dribble.  Sometimes you need to take on a defender.  Sometimes you need to create a little bit of space from an over-zealous defender just to be able to pass.  Sometimes you need to be “selfish” and drive right at the heart of the defense.  And yes, other times you get rid of the ball as quickly as possible with a good pass.  Maybe even a one time pass…

BUT, the problem is with everyone yelling “giaca giaca!” non stop, players feel insane pressure to immediately pass the second they get it.

And then they panic and get rid of it.

And here’s the worse part: we applaud STUPID passes.  Somehow we’ve created a culture where’s it the “right thing” just to pass.

“Little Johnny must pass cause we’re a nice society that always encourages being “nice” and passing the second you get it even though it often is the bad play

Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh (pulling my hair out.)

Picture this.  Little Johnny gets the ball and everyone yells pass and so he passes to his right to little Billy and everyone thinks it’s the world’s best thing.  BUT… Little Billy was 2 yards to his right and not in a better position.  In other words, the pass was useless.  It was simply to make coaches and parents feel good.  Cause it’s “the right thing to do.”  However, from a soccer perspective it was a terrible idea.  Why pass to someone right besides you when you’re not even under pressure?

You know what this does?

It creates an environment of passing for the sake of it.  So players pass even though it’s a bad idea and then we applaud it.

Heck, I’ve seen “high level academies” applaud this bullshevick. Everything is about creating robotic players who pass the second they get it. And then they wonder why we don’t develop any SKILLED players in North America? You know, the kind that can actually take a defender on???

And guess what?  By doing this you never gets good at dribbling, doesn’t develop moves, and becomes a robot player…

Now, onward to point numero dos.

It’s this; soccer development is not about effectiveness.  It’s not about developing a killer passing team that wins every game.

Repeat with me amigo mio:

“Soccer development is about developing player’s individual soccer skills, not about winning and just passing for the sake of it.”

As such, understand this.

Often, the players who dribble more and who just “don’t care” are the ones that develop better.  You see, as is, players already don’t get enough touches on the ball.  They don’t get enough “soccer scenarios.” They get the ball maybe 10 times a game and try to get rid of it immediately.  The “selfish” players?  They don’t care what you think and they have the cojones to go for it and try stuff.  They try to dribble.  They try to be creative.  They don’t always pass immediately.  Yeah, they may lose it but they also learn.  You learn by failing…And by doing this they get more soccer scenarios!

Because they don’t pass every single second they get the ball, they end up getting more time on the ball.  They get more touches!  They get more action.  And thus they develop quicker simply because due to their mindset, they were able to get more practice.  They held onto the ball more than the player who just got rid of it the second they got it.

The player who’s not afraid to “ball hog” sometimes, (notice I used parenthesis?  I did this to emphasize it’s not necessarily ball hogging to dribble) will get more practice than YOU on the ball who just kicks it the second they receive it.

And we’re not even talking about the fact that creativity, dribbling, moves and 1on1 ability is so stinking crucially important and that if you only ever encourage passing they don’t learn that stuff!

That’s why street soccer is so powerful.

There’s no parents yelling at you to NOT go for it.  They all yell “mine mine mine” Or “pass pass pass!”

In street soccer you just go for it. You only have to deal with other players yelling at you.  No coaches or parents so it’s easier to have the cojones to go for it.  Yes, you still learn passing as well and just cause you have the guts to go for it doesn’t mean you grow up as some ball hog (even though a skilled ball hog is better than a non-skilled player who just passes).

Don’t think passing is always the solution.  Sometimes you gotta go the other extreme and be a bit of a ball hog so you can learn how to take players on, create space, dribble and be creative, AND then you can start to learn when to pass, when to not pass, when to dribble and when to be creative.

Now don’t go and don’t be such a passing Peter.

Got it son? Good…

Onward to “smart passing,” not “passing for the sake of it.”

Do you notice players often just passing for the sake of it?  

Or parents yelling like I mentioned?  

Let me know below

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