Passing patterns


20x20 yards


Balls, cones

No. of players


This session works on players’ ability to play one-two passing moves in order to create space and to get in behind the opposition’s defence.

The practice is comprised of initial unopposed passing drills which familiarise players with movement, awareness and link-up play, before progressing onto a competitive 8v8 game.

The entire session lasts 75 minutes and is broken down into 20 minutes of passing patterns and a 55-minute game.

What do I get the players to do?

Between opposite diagonal corners, we place two cones in the middle of the area, five yards apart. There are two teams of four, with two players from each starting on a central cone, facing out towards their two team-mates in the corner.

From each corner, a pass is made, then followed into the middle. The first player on the central cone touches the ball back to the second corner player, who passes back to the middle and so on. We experiment with one-touch and two-touch passing, switching between the two, but every pass must always be followed.

When players are comfortable, we progress the move by instructing each receiving middle player to turn to his left on his first touch before passing the ball out to the other corner. After a few minutes, we switch the turn to the right, ensuring the move remains at a high tempo throughout.

Progressing further, one of the two central players on each team now becomes an ‘edge player’, meaning he moves into space to the right of the central cone. Now, the remaining player on the cone plays a short one-two with the corner server, who then feeds a pass to the edge player. The edge player spins and plays a ball into the opposite half, which is picked up by the cone player who completes a pass to the other corner. Each player follows his pass, with the exception of the edge player who now takes up the place on the cone. This move can be started from both corners at the same time.


• Players make one-two passes to and from the corners, following each pass


• The player on the central cone turns to feed a pass to the opposite corner


• An additional wide man helps construct a more intricate ‘pass and go’ move

What are the key things to look for technically/tactically?

Players must pass with good pace and direction, and should be equally comfortable switching onto left or right feet. Good, intelligent movement is essential if teams are to create the space necessary to play one-twos.

How would you put this into a game situation?

In a 40×30 yard area we play 8v8. A team scores a point when two players make a simple one-two pass around an opponent.

We enhance this game by adding 5-yard end zones, into which two players from each team move. A point is scored with each received ball in the end zone, though a one-two pass around an opposition player must have been made in the immediate lead-up to the scoring pass.


• The move is played in both directions and both halves of the playing area


• A simple one-two earns the red team a point in the small-sided game


• Progressing, the point is now earned when the end zone player receives a pass after the initial one-two