Why it’s important to work on front foot passing
Here we explain what front foot passing is and how this under-used skill can give players an advantage on the pitch.
What makes a good pass?
A good pass puts the team in a better position, particularly for the teammate receiving it.
The ball carrier plays the pass accurately and smoothly. The pass happens at the right time, at the right speed and in the best place for the receiving player’s next action.
All while deceiving the opposition.
Why use a front foot pass?
Passing with the inside of the foot is most common. But passing with the front foot works well too, especially when travelling with the ball.
- Front foot passing is harder for defenders to anticipate. That’s because the passer needs barely any back lift of the foot when playing the ball.
- Players can get closer to defenders before passing. This helps to take them out of the game.
- Players can pass forward without breaking stride, making creating a flowing move more natural.
- The ball carrier can play different angled passes when opportunities emerge.
Front foot passing lets players entice opponents by dragging or rolling the ball. They can keep the ball close, then play a pass without giving the defender time to respond.
These skills are essential when playing in tight areas of the pitch, like attacking in and around the box.
How to develop the skill
For a good front foot pass, tell players to point their toes down while tightening the ankle for a good connection with the ball.
Because it’s used less, players might find the pass strange or uncomfortable at first. But encourage your team to keep at it. They’ll quickly improve.
A great way of developing front foot passing is through playing games - as long as there’s a culture of skill in your sessions.
As a coach, it’s your responsibility to create an environment where players aren’t scared to take risks. They must be willing to make mistakes because being skilful is about feeling skilful as much as performing a skill.
Watch the video below to see how former FA national coach developer Paul McGuinness develops the skill with his players.
McGuinness insists on the team using the front foot to pass. The aim is to develop the skill through repetition. The technique helps break existing habits.