'Soccer In Your Area' (March 2010) Issue 3 : Page 26

SAFE VS CREATIVE PASSES By Lawrence Fine DRIBBLING & CREATING SPACE The ability to dribble and create space in soccer can get you out of a tough spot and improve your team's chance of maintaining possession of the ball and scoring a goal. The key is to keep the ball as the other players move to open up for passing. It's important not to let the op‐ posing team steal the ball. Here's how to dribble and create space while playing soccer. Step 1 ‐ Receive a pass from your teammate, staying in front of any defenders marking you. Step 2 ‐ Trap the ball and dribble it tightly in an arc as your teammates open up for a pass. You may need to dribble back over the same area several times to give them enough time. Step 3 ‐ Prevent the opposing players from taking the ball by dribbling with your back to any challengers, keeping your body between the other player and your ball. Now is a good time to use body fakes and ball skills to throw off the other player. Step 4 ‐ Pass the ball to a teammate as soon as she is free. By dribbling the ball as your teammates moved, you allowed them to create open space and prepare for a pass. Step 5 ‐ Create your own space by dribbling away from the other player if no teammates are open. Open up the field for yourself and dribble or send the ball down line. http://www.ehow.com/how_2307491_dribble‐space‐soccer.html Most players don't think about what kind of pass they are making – is it safe or creative? That lack of consideration is apparent by the total lack of regard players have for the safety of some of the simplest passes. When this concept was first explained to me a long time ago, I thought it was so simple and basic that it wasn’t worth the time to talk about. The longer I am involved in coach‐ ing, the more I realize how important this belief is in terms of the overall quality of play. To begin, let's define the two terms. A safe pass is any pass that simply is designed to maintain possession. This might be a pass back to a sweeper to get the ball out of pressure in the middle of the field, or perhaps a square ball from the outside midfielder to a center midfielder to switch the ball through the midfield ‐‐ any‐ thing of this type. A creative pass is one where the player has chosen to take a chance with the idea that if the pass is success‐ ful, it will result in an extremely positive situation. An example of the creative pass might be an attempted through ball to an over‐ lapping runner on the far side of the field. In talking about these two types of passes, a key factor is weigh‐ ing the risk against the rewards of each. The safe back pass to the sweeper can be a valuable pass. However, it will almost never directly result in a goal‐scoring opportunity, so while it might be valuable, the minimal probability of rewards (goals) does not justify any type of risk at all. On the other hand, if this pass fails (goes to the other team), there is a great chance of the other team getting a goal‐scoring opportunity. Since you can't take a chance on failure with this pass, it must be hit perfectly every time. No mistakes can be tolerated with this type of pass. It must be hit to the correct foot at the correct time with the correct amount of pace on the ball at all times ‐‐ no exceptions. This is where perfection must be demanded. On the through ball to the overlapping runner, if this pass is suc‐ cessful, it has a great chance of resulting in a goal scoring oppor‐ tunity. If the pass is unsuccessful, there is not a great chance of a goal‐scoring opportunity being created for the opposing team and therefore is worth taking a chance. Soccer Coaching Tip ‐ Dribbling for Control Am I saying that no passes should be hit backwards and every‐ thing should be played forward and long with the idea being that the long ball is always safer then the short pass? Of course not. The point is that when a shorter pass is played, it must be suc‐ cessful every time. At some point someone decided it was acceptable to make a mistake on a soccer field if it was followed by the term "my bad" or something of that sort from the offending player. Coaches should demand that players take some responsibility and know when chances are appropriate and when the situation dictates safe passes. In the same way that I demand perfection and suc‐ cess for all safe passes, I also am extremely tolerant of creative passes that are not successful. Too many youth players are hesi‐ tant about taking chances because of the coach or parent on the sideline who yells at them for taking an unsuccessful chance when the risk was minimal and the potential reward was huge. Encourage risk‐taking in the proper situation and you will start to see the game of soccer played at a much higher level. 26. ‘Soccer In Your Area’ E‐Magazine ‐ March 2010 If you are a Coach and can share any soccer tips, techniques and advice,; please send info to admin@almsports.com (Subject: coaching corner)

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