Dribbling has never gone out of fashion in football game, but dribbling did quickly go out of fashion as football’s premier tactic. In the 1870s, teams from Scotland worked out that it was quicker and easier to pass around an opponent with the help of a team mate than to beat the opponent with a dribble.
Passing has become the most important basic skill in football. A short, simple pass is required to keep a move going so your team can hold on to possession, and a longer pass is often the one that cracks open an opposing defense, sending a team mate through on goal. Both are essential skills to learn.
The short pass, delivered with the inside of the foot, is the most common technique for delivering a ball to a team mate. It is also called a push pass because players use a long follow-through as they push the ball, stroking it towards their intended team mate. You do it like this:
- Position the ball between yourself and the intended target.
- Plant your non-kicking foot on the ground, approximately 5 inches to the side of the ball, pointing towards the intended target. So if you kick with your right foot, plant your left foot down to the left side of the ball, facing the player you are passing to. Make sure you slightly bend the knee: It should not be locked.
- Keep your kicking leg slightly bent. Take a short back-swing and then make contact with the middle of the ball just below your ankle, along the inside of your foot at the arch.
- Follow through with your leg pointing toward the intended target. The shape of your body naturally ensures that the inside of the foot ends up facing the intended target of the pass.
A longer pass works on the same principles as the short pass, but you use the following steps:
- Plant your non-kicking foot slightly behind the ball, as well as to the side.
- Make sure your kicking foot makes contact with the bottom half of the ball. By kicking the underside of the ball, it lifts off the ground, into the air, and travels longer distances.
It is important to practice the accuracy of your passing, as well as to make sure the ball travels the required distance. Players finding the ball missing to either side of the target may find they are not following through properly but are stopping the kicking maneuver upon contact with the ball and snatching at the pass. Imagine a line drawn between you and the target with the ball in the middle, your leg should travel straight along this path.