"Passing Pairs Game" * *

(U-8 & up)

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NOTE: This game is only good for teaching correct passing technique -- the problem with it is that the players aren't running and it might teach receivers that a pass should come to their feet, so they don't move to stop a bad pass. To practice passing and receiving, I suggest you use the "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race" Practice Game -- the reason is because it practices passing while running and you can use it to teach "Aggressive Receiving", which is VERY important. You want your players to learn that passes WON'T be perfect and that they MUST be ready for bad passes and learn to move toward the pass. The Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race" Practice Game can teach Aggressive Receiving, turning, passing, kicking a ball while running and under pressure, importance of "first-touch", one-touch control, and receivers to move to the ball.


Quick & accurate passing. This is a practice game that is a drill.

  • Put 3 disk cones 5 steps apart and then walk 20 steps & set out 3 more (like shown below):

passing pairs diagram
  • Pair up players & have them face each other, 5 steps apart (use the cones as a guide). They should be in 2 rows (shoulder to shoulder) about 2 steps apart, like below. If an odd number, the coach or a parent must fill in.

passing pairs diagram
The Game:
  • One ball per pair (each pair is a "team")
  • On "Go", see which team can complete 20 two-touch inside-of-foot "push passes" first. Before they start, review the fundamentals such as knees bent, bounce on your toes while waitig to receive the pass, etc. (See "How To Teach Passing & Receiving").
  • Have first team to 20 yell out "Done". Then ask each other team how many they did.
  • At the end of each "game", give tips on how they can improve (e.g., if the pass is going into the air, it is because they are striking the ball too low; if their pass isn't straight, see if their plant foot is pointing toward the target & if they are following through with their kicking foot toward the target. Remember why this is called a "push" pass; are they following through toward the target?)

  • Then, have them do 30 one-touch passes using either inside-of-foot or outside-of-foot (a pair of U-12 players should be able to complete 60 one-touch passes in one minute from 5 steps apart).
  • Then, have them do 20 one-touch using outside-of-foot only
  • Then, move one row back to the next cones so they are 10 steps apart & do 20 two-touch passes, 30 one-touch passes & 15 chip shots
  • It is hugely beneficial to teach proper passing & receiving at an early age. Over 50% of youth players use improper technique.


Whether children continue to play soccer will have a lot to do with whether it is fun at early ages. SoccerHelp Practice Games are designed to be fun, to teach important skills and concepts, and to keep players active. We don't use "knock-out" or elimination games which leave kids standing on the sideline and we don't use games such as "Crab Soccer" which are fun but have many kids crawling on the ground instead of learning to play soccer. There are thousands of drills on the Internet, but most are not well thought out, efficient, effective or fun. Most drills and games do not provide enough touches on the ball or the activity level is too low (i.e., there is too much standing around) to meet SoccerHelp standards. SoccerHelp Practice Games are selected from hundreds we have tried and less than 5% of the games we evaluate are selected for SoccerHelp Premium. We believe in positive motivation and don't believe in punishing a child who has tried their best but lost a Practice Game. Thus, we do not recommend punishing the losers or making the losers leave the game.

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