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7 Types of Passes All Playmakers Should Know

Passing is one of the most common actions taken in a football game, but no two passes are the same. Passes can be categorised into loads of different types each with varying purposes depending on the situation.

The following article will go through seven of the most important types of passes for playmakers (and any other position).

1. Simple Sideways Passes

The much-maligned sideways pass is a vital feature in every player’s locker. There’s nothing fancy about a short two metre sideways pass, but not all passes can (or should) be defence-splitting jaw-droppers.

A simple side-footed lay-off is the best way to move the ball to a teammate without running the risk of losing possession.

2. 1-2s

Simple sideways passes can become more elaborate, which brings us on to the 1-2 or the give-and-go. Taking things up a level, the 1-2 comprises of a simple short pass, followed by quick movement, before receiving the ball back from your teammate.

1-2s are a simple yet effective way of progressing the ball up the pitch without having to take on the opposition with a dribble.

3. Backheels and Flicks

Another type of pass that is often critisised (although for different reasons) are backheels and flicks. ‘Keeping things simple’ and ‘getting the basics right’ are fair concepts to abide by, but there is certainly a place for fancy flicks.

In the right situation, a quick backheel or flick with the outside of the foot can be the perfect pass to get out of a tight space. Passes like this should be used sparingly, especially if there’s another passing option.

4. Through Balls

Perhaps a playmaker’s favourite type of pass, the through ball is likely what you imagine when picturing a killer pass. The idea of a through ball is to progress the ball up the pitch, finding space in front of a running teammate.

Through balls aren’t always easy to execute and require perfect timing from both the passer and the player making a run. These types of passes can be short 5-meter passes or sweeping cross-field balls, but either one has the potential to unlock a defence in one move.

5. Lobbed Through Balls

Unsurprisingly, the lobbed through ball shares a lot of similarities with a regular through ball. The primary difference between the two passes is that a lobbed through ball is aerial.

Lobbed through balls are ideal in congested areas where the ball may be cut out. Alternatively, they are a great choice for longer passes where other players may intercept passing lanes.

6. Crosses

A lot of people may not even think of crosses as passes, but they serve the same purpose as any other pass – getting the ball from one player to another.

Crosses don’t always have a specific intended target and can just attack a dangerous area. There is also a lot of variation in types of crosses.

These include:

  • Pull-backs
  • Drilled Crosses
  • Whipped Crosses
  • Looped Crosses
  • Volleyed Crosses

7. First-Time Passes

This final category of passes can overlap with many others. First-time passes are quick and involve hitting the ball without taking an initial touch to control the ball.

Naturally, this can make first-time passes harder to control for the passer but can catch out the opposition defenders when executed well.

The Bottom Line

Mastering passing takes time and practice and understanding when to play a certain type of pass comes with experience and exposure to various match situations.

There’s no better place to improve your passing ability and learn football the Brazilian way, than at Samba Soccer Schools. For more information, click here.

FAQs About Passing

Do goalkeepers need to know how to pass?

In the modern game, yes. Although it may not be as important for goalkeepers, being able to use your feet is becoming very useful.

How can I improve passing in football?

For more information on how to improve your passing, read here.

Where do playmakers play?

Playmakers traditionally play in midfield. They can be positioned virtually anywhere on the pitch, collecting the ball from centre-backs, playing just behind the striker, or occupying spaces on the flanks.

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