Sure you can pass the ball from point A to point B but what about the weighted pass? This pass can be played from many different positions and ways on the pitch. Generally it's played in behind a defender but not always. A good weighted ball is played into space in front of your teammate making it quite easy for them to run on to it in stride. It takes remarkable accuracy and touch to set it up just right for your teammate to receive. Hit too hard or too soft it could break up a build up instantly, so weight the ball jussssst right. It sounds simple but can be so difficult trying to read the opponent, the space, your teammate and the ball coming your way before you place it just so in the right place at the right time.
You've got the driven, push and chip pass down now let's see if you can add the weighted pass to your arsenal. A proper weighted pass takes the most delicate of touches and complete confidence and competence in both feet. A weighted ball can be played with any part of your foot, leg, knee, shoulder or head! A great weighted pass has done all the work for your teammate and all they have to do is run onto it to complete their next action in attack.
1. Space Not Man - This is a pass that is to be played into space and not directly to your teammate. The way this pass is most useful and effective is if your teammate can run onto the ball from a full sprint where al their momentum is blowing by defenders and they just pick up the ball you played them and carry on forward. You have to be able to read not where your player is but where they will be and pass it even ten yards beyond that for the pass to be just perfect.
2. Keep the Ball Moving - If you've done it right the ball will still be in motion as your teammate runs on to the ball. A dead ball is infinitely more difficult to collect and carry with your forward momentum than a dead ball is so be sure to keep the ball moving forward. If this means over hitting it a little so be it but you want your teammate not have to break their stride and collect the ball and be on his way.
3. Anticipate - A great weighted ball starts with the recognition of the player developing before it fully forms. As the opportunity to lead a player with a weighted ball presents itself your anticipatory skills need to be on high volume. You ability to read the play and slip your teammate into space is the first key skill in executing this pass and reading the game at a higher level.
4. Air and Ground - In case I didn't mention it the weighted pass can be played both on the ground and in the air. The ball on the ground is much more efficient because it requires no extra time lost controlling the ball from the air and the degree of difficult is lower but it is also more difficult to pull off. The weighted ball in the air can be incredibly effective as well but requires a higher level of touch, accuracy and awareness as the degree of difficulty is higher both for the passer and receiver of the ball.
5. Overhit! - A weighted pass can be under hit and lead to problems back the other way so if you're ever not sure if you should put a little bit more power on it, the answer is always yes, air on the side of too long then too short. An overhit ball may run out of bounds, the keeper may collect or may even bounce your way but an under hit ball will always lead to trouble back the other way. Overhit!!!!
1. Playing Directly to Teammate - You want to try and avoid playing it directly to a moving player as it defeats the purpose and effectiveness of the pass. The weighted ball is most effective when played in space well ahead of the player so they can keep their momentum and collect the ball and continue forward.
2. No Look Nonsense - Look the weighted pass is difficult enough to pull off so go easy on the no look passes and other flair until you have mastered the fundamentals of this pass. The best players in the world make the most difficult of plays look effortless, master the fundamentals then maybe you can add some Brazilian fire.
3. Forcing It - As we all know this pass won't be on every time you look up and see your teammates. The ability to read and pick out just the right time to play this pass is essential and although it is high effective that doesn't mean it's always going to be on or work. Depending on the situation you need to understand which of your arsenal of passing is necessary to do the job.
4. Passing On A Wet Pitch - Playing a weighted ball on a wet pitch is no walk in the park. If the ball is played on the ground it can be stopped incredibly short due to puddles or skid and get away from your teammate. Balls in the air played will definitely fly off the end of the pitch so be really careful and selective of the weighted pass when playing on a wet pitch as it will significantly alter what you are able to pull off and what you're not.
5. Passing Backwards - Using a weighted ball back towards your own goal to your teammates will just put your teammates into trouble and make a whole mess of the situation. Leading your own players back to their own goal no matter how crafty is something you want to proceed with extreme caution with. Stick to weighted passes forward both on the ground and in the air, don't try and reinvent the wheel here.
Next time you turn on the TV and watch your favourite team play watch for this type of pass and how the best players in the world go about pulling them off. Until then, read this.
1. No follow through necessary. Hit the ball and stop short almost like jabbing at it to get just the right pace on it to slow down where you want.
2. Lock your ankle no matter if it is in the air or on the ground.
3. Bend plant leg to get under the ball and give you more flexibility in your passing leg.
4. Lean back if you want the ball to float up into the air.
5. Keep your head down focused on the ball after you've picked out your target.
From time to time you will see almost every position using this pass but it is typically most used by players on the flank and central midfielders. Whether the players out wide are crossing an early ball for a striker to run onto or a center midfielder slipping a player in leading them with the prefect weighted ball this pass spans more than a few positions. You won't typically see a center back, goalkeeper use this pass as frequently but from time to time they may use it to their advantage.
To learn more about the different passing networks that are presented throughout a game feel free to read this article on Passing Networks in Football.
It's not enough to show up to games and practices, play a little football, get your touches in and go home and expect to take your game to new heights. If you look around your teammates and the rest of the players in your league that is the exact same thing every single player is doing, so what are you doing more to separate yourself rom the pack? No matter how good you think you may be. Take you game to the next stage by putting in some extra reps learning the weighted pass with these easy exercises.
With A Partner: If you have a friend you are training with then place three different cones behind you, have him stand on one of them without you knowing, turn the other way so you can't see him and have them run past you. As they run past you try and lead them by playing a weighted ball ten yards ahead of them. This will work on you judging how to play the pass so to set your teammate up for success, you will also get reps in putting the ball in the perfect position for them to run on to. Have your partner run at different speeds from different cones each time to challenge you to be crafty with your decision making. Change up your positioning on the pitch to mimic real game situations, after you've done this try to do a few in the air over a dummy or your bag to act as a defender to test your accuracy.
Without A Partner: If you don't have a partner and are just working on your own you can place a cone 10, 15 and 20 yards away and see if you can pass a ball (both on the ground and in the air) within a foot or two of it to work on your accuracy and weight of pass. Now to challenge yourself try aiming for these same cones by dribbling with the ball and playing this type of pass on the run. You will see you're now going to have to deal with a lot more then just passing a ball near a cone. This simple exercise will help you develop the weighted touch you need to slip teammates in on goal.
All the factors you need to consider before pulling off a weighted pass start how the ball is coming your way (what angle, what speed on the bounce or in the air). After you have that down you need to see if there is space available where you can play a teammate running into, now the next step is judging whether your teammate is at full speed running to that speed. Finally you need judge where all the defenders are (both the one marking your teammate) and the one looking to intercept the ball. Sure it just looks like a typical pass but the amount of different variables you need to consider and filter through takes a high level IQ and processing brain to pull off, good thing your team has you Tesla!!
-Make it easy for your teammate receive by playing it in the space they are running on to
-Disguise your pass
-Too long is better than too short so play it just a tad on the long side
-Ideally on the ground, easier to collect
-Select a target and go with it, don't second guess yourself
-Keep whichever part of your foot you choose flexed and firm
-Make sure your planting foot acts as a guide and points in the direction of where you are passing
Before I turned pro I use to play this game with teammates where we'd stand about ten yards from one another and pass the ball but we'd try and get the ball to stop dead exactly between your teammates leg without touching the sides of their feet. Little did I know that helped me tremendously to improve my weighted pass. There are so many other things you can do like laying down cones and playing balls into channels and having them stop dead on a certain spot to improve your pass accuracy.
A great weighted ball can be deadly and when executed in tough situations really shows a players professional touch.
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