Field size: 40 yards by 30 yards
Number of players: full team; split up into pairs
Age range: 10-12
Description: In pairs passing first with the inside of the right and then with left foot. Ten passes with each foot. Start out trying to complete the passes in two or three touches and then move on to one touch.
Next, move on to driving the ball to your partner at knee height with the instep of your foot, getting under the ball to chip the ball to your partner’s chest, and bending the ball with inside and outside of the foot.
Vary the length of the passes as you get warmed up and loose. There’s a certain deftness that must be learned by your soccer players – to vary the ball from a crisp inside of the foot pass to a chip to a driven ball to a lofted ball to the chest. The speed and weight of the pass tells the player something – if it’s a crisp pass then they are covered and must lay the ball off quickly. However, if it’s a soft pass they have time and space and can turn.
Even at a young age, teach your players to let their teammates know they have time or if they’re under pressure with the weight of the pass as well as their voices – shout ‘man on’ or ‘you have time’.
Extra: Players can also add in juggling work, juggling the same number of times as the partner yells out. If the partner says two then player juggles twice before sending the ball back and yells out a number for his or her partner to juggle, saying once, twice or three times. The ball can’t touch the ground.
Equipment needed: Cones and practice vests.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of passing and control then try to get to the level of Messi and Alves juggling the ball in the air as a warm up.