Soccer Passing to Space is Better than Passing to Feet
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Importance of Strength in the Center of the Soccer Field
Quick Soccer Punts as a Way to Attack
How a Soccer Team Scored 23 Goals in 4 Games and Only Allowed 2 Goals in 4 Games
How They Tripled Soccer Scoring from Last Season
Tips for Teaching Soccer Goalkeepers

Hi SoccerHelp,

The wins keep coming. We won our last two games 8-0 and 5-0; we beat these same teams last season 2-1 and 1-0. In our last game the opponent had no shots "on goal." Several observations from winning these games against teams which I consider to be pretty good.

We are playing a 1-1-2-1 and "Defending Deep".

Defending deep and having the FB play in only the Center 2/3 of our Penalty Box prevents most scoring opportunities. The Center of our Penalty Box (in front of our goal) is just never open.

The girls are unwittingly Passing to Space by clearing the ball up to the MF's or forward; this creates a lot of scoring opportunities.

One thing I notice is that other teams do not work on goalkeeping at all. My pre-practice and game warm-ups only involve shooting on GK's which combines shooting practice and teaching GK technique. I now have 4 girls who can play Goalkeeper, and three of them are actually pretty good. I have two girls who can punt the ball to the half-line which also creates scoring opportunities when it bounces over the defenders. If the other coaches just spent some time teaching their GK basic positioning, like not camping out 6 feet in front of the goal while the ball is in the box, their teams would instantly improve.

Coach U


Hi Coach U,

Congratulations! Your success is well deserved and shows what can be achieved through good coaching.

You hit on a critical point when you said:

"The girls are unwittingly passing to space by clearing the ball up to the MF's or forward; this creates a lot of scoring opportunities."

You are exactly right -- that is teaching both the passers AND the receivers the use of "open space" and "passing to space". Here are some of the things they are learning:

  1. The Passers are learning to send the ball quickly before defenders can "recover", "touch" on the ball and how to "send" the ball, as opposed to just kicking it away. (If they haven't learned this, they will learn it by trial and error - they will see that a good Pass to Space gives the Receiver a chance to win the ball, but a bad pass doesn't give the Receiver a chance). When a Passer makes a good pass, it's VERY important to congratulate her for positive reinforcement, and if your team scores on one of those passes, make the Scorer "High 5" the Passer on the field so everyone can see it (players and parents). Again, that will encourage good passing and will let everyone know that good passes are important and that Passers are as important as Receivers. I would recommend designating a special patch to award to players who make a great pass.

  2. By clearing the ball to Open Space, the Receivers (in your case, mainly your Forward, but also your MF's) are probably learning much more than the Passers. The Receivers are learning: To Stay alert; to "Shift" with the ball so they are in position to win the cleared balls; how to position themselves relative to defenders so they have the best chance to win the ball; to break on the ball AS SOON AS it is cleared (i.e., as soon as it is passed), which means they have to make a snap decision about the direction and the distance of the pass. I'm sure there are even more things they are learning, but these things will benefit them and they will expect and be ready for "Passes to Space" instead of just waiting for a "Pass to Feet".

"Passing to Space" is a totally different way of thinking about moving the ball as opposed to "Passing to Feet". I'm guessing that "Passing to Space" is one reason your team is scoring so many more goals than last year. I believe that if you have 2 Rec teams with equal talent and one knows how to "Pass to Space" and the other just "Passes to Feet", the team that "Passes to Space" will probably win every time because their attack is so much more creative, fluid and difficult to defend. Do you agree? When I taught my teams to "Pass to Space" we doubled our scoring and averaged 6 or 7 per game vs. about 3 prior to that. Obviously, it changes the entire attack and is a lot more fun -- it's what soccer should be and as your kids get more used to it, you will start to see some amazing ball movement.

I think your comments about goal keepers and the importance of defending the Goal Front are on target and great tips for Rec Coaches.

Being able to punt to the Half Line is huge!!! Do you have your Goalies take quick punts and leave your Forward Pushed Up to the Half Line all the time so you can catch the opposing defenders asleep and get fast breaks?

Please keep sharing these insights -- they are interesting.

David at SoccerHelp