11 Passing & Receiving Soccer Drills [Printable Diagrams & Coaching Points]

Being able to successfully pass and receive the ball is a fundamental area of the game your players need to develop. Without the ability to pass the ball effectively and position themselves to receive the ball your players are going to struggle to play the game let alone score any goals.

Before we dive into the individual drills and games below, it’s important to understand the key coaching points behind each phase of this topic.

Passing

  • Quality of Pass: A sloppy, off-target pass isn’t going to do anything but most likely hand over possession to the other team. Improving the overall quality of the pass with your players will make the next two steps a lot each easier to develop. How do we improve the quality of passes? With a combination of having a solid connection with the ball, using the right part of our feet for the right pass, pointing our standing foot in the direction we want the ball to go and whole lot repetition.
  • Speed of the Pass: Getting the right amount of speed, weight and pace on passes takes practice. By varying the distances that your players need to make a pass (short vs long), balancing passive and active pressure and getting lot of game time – you players will start to develop the right amount of pace for the right type of pass.
  • Timing of the Pass: Knowing when to pass the ball is something that is a little bit harder to coach. It comes with developing intelligence for the game and being able read the game. But as you’ll see below there are a few drills you can do which will help develop this area of their game.

Receiving

  • Movement: Movement off the ball is just as important as movement on the ball. When coaching younger players movement off the ball, it’s important to stress not only creating space for the pass but also exploiting space too.
  • Body Positioning: It’s also important to understand why we need to position our body correctly and how this can benefit them in the moments immediately after the ball is controlled and right before they look to pass the ball to a team mate.
Using the right key coaching points

Passing and Receiving Key Coaching Points

Although I have listed additional coaching points under each drill, when specifically coaching passing and receiving you’ll want to stick as closely as possible to following coaching points;

Passing Coaching Points:

  • For a ‘standard’ pass use the inside of your foot and follow through towards the intended target
  • Get a solid connection on the ball
  • Be aware of the weight of you passes
  • Read the receiving players body position – do they want it to feet? Or do they want it into space?
  • Standing foot should be along side the ball
  • Be aware of the accuracy of your passes
  • Body over the ball
  • Use your arms to stay balanced

Receiving Coaching Points:

  • Get you body in the right position to receive the ball
  • Communicate
  • Create space for the pass
  • Control the ball away from the defender / into space
  • Keep your head up

Essential Equipment Needed

For all the drills below you’re going to need the following equipment; a set of training balls, cones and pinnies. Some training drills will require more equipment such as; goals and specific conditioning equipment. For these, I have listed these as additional pieces of equipment which you can find under ‘Setup’ in each drill description.

Preview
Soccer Ball Size 5 - Premium...
Pro Disc Cones (Set of 50) -...
SportsRepublik Pinnies...
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Soccer Training Balls (Perfect Soccer)
Disc Training Cones (Profect Sports)
Training Vests (SportsRepublik)
Benefits
Balls go missing all the time. Make sure you always have at least one training ball to each child to ensure maximum amount of touches on the ball
Disc cones can be used to mark out training setups, be used as targets and help define the areas of any small side pitches you need
Always ensure you have plenty of training vests available. Training vests can not only be used to distinguish teams but can also be doubled up as tags, targets and flags
Essential for Every Training Session
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Prime
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Price
Price not available
$19.95
$32.99
Preview
Soccer Ball Size 5 - Premium...
Product
Soccer Training Balls (Perfect Soccer)
Benefits
Balls go missing all the time. Make sure you always have at least one training ball to each child to ensure maximum amount of touches on the ball
Essential for Every Training Session
Customer Rating
-
Prime
-
Price
Price not available
More Details
Preview
Pro Disc Cones (Set of 50) -...
Product
Disc Training Cones (Profect Sports)
Benefits
Disc cones can be used to mark out training setups, be used as targets and help define the areas of any small side pitches you need
Essential for Every Training Session
Customer Rating
Prime
Price
$19.95
More Details
Preview
SportsRepublik Pinnies...
Product
Training Vests (SportsRepublik)
Benefits
Always ensure you have plenty of training vests available. Training vests can not only be used to distinguish teams but can also be doubled up as tags, targets and flags
Essential for Every Training Session
Customer Rating
Prime
Price
$32.99
More Details
Passing and Receiving Soccer Drill #1

Turn or Play

[PassReceive] Turn or Play

For this drill all you’ll need will be markers of some kind (eg cones) and enough space for each line of players 
‘Turn or Play’ is small easy to setup drill that improves passing and receiving techniques but also creates a positive learning environment where communication is the key ingredient.
Suitable for; Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s and Under 12’s. Can also be used with older players – ability depending

Coaching Points

  • Communicate clearly
  • Listen carefully
  • Focus on the weight of the pass
  • Position your body ready for the pass
  • Use the most efficient and effective turn
  • Stay sharp and keep focused
  • Watch the speed of the pass

Drill Details

Turn or Play is a really quick setup and takes up minimal room as you can line up players in their groups vertically to each other.

Instructions

Turn: If the passer (Player A) calls ‘Turn!’

The receiving player in the middle turns to receive the ball, controls, and uses a turn of their choice (eg cruyff turn) then plays the ball into Player C. Player C then dribbles the ball back to the start position. Player B Replaces Player C and Player A now becomes the receiver.

Play: If the passer calls ‘Play!’ Player B turns to receive ball, plays it into space where Player A runs onto it and passes it to player C. Again Player A becomes the new receiver and B replaces Player C.

Progression

  • Progression 1: Change the stimulus – Change ‘Turn’ & ‘Play’ to; heads or tails / Blue or Red to keep focus levels high.
  • Progression 2: Get teams to work together: To develop non verbal communication methods
  • Progression 3: Add in competition – Add in some sort of competitive target game (see Foot Bowling in Warm Up Drills for inspiration)
Passing and Receiving Soccer Drill #2
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Triangle Box

[PassReceive] Triangle Box

Again, for this passing and receiving drill, all you’ll need will be some cones and possibly some pinnies to identify player B in the progression
This practice drill develops passing, control and the ability to be aware of the space around them to run into after they have passed the ball
This warm up drill can, and should be used will all age groups. For younger age groups (Under 7’s-Under 12’s) it can be used as a standalone drill. For older age groups (Under 13’s – Under 16’s) you could use it as a warm up drill.

Coaching Points

  • Weight the pass properly
  • Make sure the ball has enough speed on it
  • Keep on your toes
  • Receive the ball into space (alone the line of the box)
  • Keep your head up
  • Communicate
  • Make the right decision

Drill Details

The name of this drill is come from the triangle ‘formation’ of the players in a squared box. (Drill #1. This simple drill requires 3 players, 1 ball and enough space to create a small box.

  • Player A plays the ball into Player B.
  • Player A then runs to the available space on the side of the box.
  • Player B must control the ball, and play it into player C.
  • Again, Player B runs into the available space on the side of the box.
  • Allow the session to flow stopping only to coach key points

Progression

For the progression: 4 Players/2 balls.

  • A passes to B (Middle Player) and runs to the available cone.
  • B receives ball, and plays it out to C (who doesn’t have the second ball).
  • D Plays the ball into B and runs to the available cone while B simultaneously plays the ball to A (Continuous)

Progression Coaching Points

  • Move to adopt correct body position to receive ball
  • Receive the ball with your body open
  • Occupy available space
  • Communicate
  • Control ball with back foot
  • Make passes accurate
  • Keep tempo up but don’t rush the pass
  • Awareness of player movement
Passing and Receiving Soccer Drill #3
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Cross Ball

[PassReceive] Cross Ball

Super simple setup with 4 cones creating a square box.  
To improve players receiving and passing in a dynamic way
Under 7’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s

Coaching Points

  • Ensure body is well positioned to receive the ball
  • Control the ball into space
  • Use the outside of the foot to control the ball with effectiveness AND efficiency
  • Stay on your toes
  • Instep passes hit firmly
  • Focus on the weight and accuracy of the pass
  • Speed of the pass

Drill Details

Make sure you have enough room to accommodate all your players. This drill involves passing the ball, taking a touch to the outside of the cones before playing the ball back. This is repeated until you decide to progress the drill or stop to re-enforce some coaching points.

  • Player A passes the ball to Player B through the center of the box.
  • Player B then takes a touch to the outside of the cones and plays the ball back to Player A through the center of the opposite cones.
  • This is a continuous drill

Progression

  • Progression 1: Limit the amount of touches to 2 – One to control into space, the other to pass the ball back
  • Progression 2: Use weaker foot
  • Progression 3: Vary the passing technique – chip pass, laces pass are a few alternatives to use.
Passing and Receiving Soccer Drill #4
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The Simple Circle

[PassReceive] The Simple Circle

If you’ve got access to a center circle at training then I recommend you use that. Failing that, this drill will work just as well using cones to set the perimeter to form a circle OR a squared area.
To develop and further improve passing and receiving techniques
This is good drill to use with most age groups (Under 7’s – Under 15’s).

Coaching Points

  • Communicate you want the ball; both verbally and non verbally
  • Position your body ready to receive the ball
  • Control the ball into space
  • Use the most efficient and effective turn (eg, drag back, Cruyff turns, outside chops)
  • Keep your head up
  • Control the weight of your passes
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Stay sharp

Drill Details

You’ll see this drill (or variations of this drill) at nearly every academy, youth club and soccer training facility – and for good reason. It has all the hallmarks of a good drill; simplicity, effectiveness and maximum participation.

The Simple Circle involves having enough players on the outside of a circle to feed the balls to the players on the inside of the circle. The players on the inside must receive the ball into space, dribble the ball and then pass the ball to another player on the outside of the circle. This drill is highly effective for not only helping your players improve their passing technique but also develop an understanding of receiving priorities in ‘passive competitive’ environment. Make sure all players get enough practice time.

Progression

  • Progression 1: Limit the amount of touches on the ball
  • Progression 2: Introduce a passive defender to get close to the attackers and apply pressure but not actually tackle them
  • Progression 3: Allow passive defender to become active
Passing and Receiving Soccer Drill #5
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The Hourglass

[PassReceive] The Hourglass

The length of the area should be longer than the width. So you’re looking at around a 60×40 area.
To focus on the quality and accuracy of the passes. To also be able to control the ball into space (the direction you want the ball to go)
Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s

Coaching Points

  • Take first touch into the direction you want to go
  • Focus on the accuracy of the pass
  • Hit the passes firmly using the inside of the foot
  • Use the most efficient turn
  • Position your body to receive the ball

Drill Details

Player A plays the ball into Player B and follows their pass. Player B controls the ball, turns and plays the ball into player C who then dribbles the ball down to the other side of the area. While this is happening the other side completes the same pattern.

The focus should be on the quality of the passes and the speed and efficiency the receiving player can control the ball and play it to the next player.

Progression

For this progression; Normal rules as per the previous setup but this time add in 2 coned gates to either side of the area. 1 player stands on each side and when they receive the ball from Player C, they must control the ball, turn and dribble on to the opposite end. Player C still follows their pass but only half way until they receive the ball.

  • Get the body into position to receive the ball
  • Use the outside foot to turn
  • Limit the amount of touches it takes to turn
  • Open your body up
Passing and Receiving Soccer Drill #6
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Switching Play

[PassReceive] Switching Play 2

This drill involves 8 players; 4 players either end of the box and 4 players inside the box. . To make this drill as realistic as possible I’d recommend grabbing a set of soccer mannequins. Other than that you’ll need a fairly big surface area for this drill – around 40 x 40 marked out using cones. I’d also recommend using different colored pinnies for each group 
To develop their passing and receiving skills whilst making use of other areas of play such as switching the play and positional awareness.
This drill might a little to complicated for the really young age groups to grasp straight away. So I’d recommend using this drill with Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s and Under 14’s

Coaching Points

  • Be aware of the weight of your pass
  • Stay aware of your surroundings
  • Small touches
  • Pass and Move

Drill Details

The players in the box work in pairs – passing, receiving and moving as they work their way up and down the box. Once they reach the end of the area, they play the ball to the nearest outside player (in this case player C) who then plays it to player D. Player A gets into position to receive the ball and they start again working their way down the box to the other side. The other 2 players inside the box do the same thing in the opposite direction.

Progression

  • Progression 1: Add an additional player to act as a passive defender
  • Progression 2: Allow passive defender to come active
Passing and Receiving Soccer Drill #7
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Dutch Wineglass

[PassReceive] Dutch Wineglass

Cones are laid out in a ‘Y’ shape (Wineglass shape). You could also use soccer mannequins for player B to work off and possibly conditioning equipment for player C.
To pass and receive the ball efficiently. Learning to adapt and use the right turn depending on the quality and speed of the pass.
Suitable for; Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s, Under 15’s

Coaching Points

  • Communicate clearly
  • Check the cone or mannequin before receiving the pass
  • Choose the correct type of turn
  • Play the ball with the inside of the feet
  • Follow your pass
  • Stay sharp and focused
  • Get to next cone quickly

Drill Details

This drills starts by the players passing the ball into the middle (Player A to Player B) and following their pass to the next cone. The player receiving the ball (Player B) turns, and plays the ball to the next player (Player C) and also follows their pass. The final player to receive the ball (Player C) dribbles back down with the ball and joins the back of the other line. Both lines complete this pattern simultaneously.

Progression

[PassReceive] Dutch Wineglass Progression

For this progression your players are looking to pass and receive the ball while improving their awareness and timing of their runs.

In this part of the drill Player A plays the ball into Player B who lays the ball off at an angle. Player A runs to retrieve the ball and plays the ball into Player C. Player C then plays a one-two with the incoming player B, and then dribbles the ball down and joins the back of the opposite line.

Coaching Points:

  • All the same coaching points from the starting drill
  • Be aware of your teammates pass quality / speed / weight
  • Time your runs properly
Passing and Receiving Soccer Drill #8
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The Diamond

[PassReceive] The Diamond

The setup for this drill takes on a diamond shape. Use cones to mark out the positions and make sure you have enough space to accommodate all your players.
To communicate and work together as a unit to be able to pass and receive the ball without the pattern or drill breaking down.
Suitable for; Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s

Coaching Points

  • Communicate clearly
  • Keep your head up and be aware of your team mates decisions and runs
  • When in the middle check to receive the ball
  • Open your body up
  • Be aware of the weight of your pass

Drill Details

This is a continuous passing drill that requires, good accuracy, weight of the pass as well as continuous communication to ensure the drill doesn’t break down. Players have a choice of either passing to the man in the middle OR the player on the outside. When passing to the player in the middle you call ‘TURN‘ and and take their place while the other player plays the ball out to the other side and take up their new position. If you pass to the outside you call ‘One-Two‘.

Progression

  • To keep things simple – firstly complete the drill at a slower pace then gradually increase the pace of the drill while minimizing the amount of times the drill breaks down
Passing and Receiving Soccer Drill #9
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Breaking Lines

[PassReceive] Breaking Lines

Setup a cone gates in a about a 40 x 40 squared box. Ensure each gate is positioned to encourage the first touch. Only cones will be needed for this drill 
Helps to develop passing and receiving skills while working on their first touch
Under 7’s, Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, under 11’a, Under 12’s

Coaching Points

  • Control the ball through the gates
  • The weight of the pass must be strong enough to challenge first touch
  • Open your hips up slightly

Drill Details

In this simple setup you’ve got 4 players and one ball. Player A starts by passing the ball into player B. Using their right foot to control the ball through the gates they then play the ball to player C who does the same and this drill continues. Try to encourage using two touches one; one touch through the gates using the right foot then one touch for the pass on to the next player

Progression

[PassReceive] Breaking Lines Progression

This time Player B will check through the gates and receive the ball the other side the gate. Player B will pass the ball back to Player A, check back in through the gates to their original position, receive the ball again, take one touch through the gates as before and play the ball to player C – who does exactly the same thing.

  • Concentrate on correct weight and accuracy
  • Come outside the line to receive the ball
  • Break the line with one touch control
  • Time you runs and don’t move too early
Passing and Receiving Soccer Drill #10
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Speed Number

[PassReceive] Decision Maker

Setup only requires a small area (7×7) marked out using cones.
To improve decision making under pressure – quickly. Whilst focusing on the quality and speed of the passes.
Suitable for; Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s, Under 15’s, Under 16’s

Coaching Points

  • Make the decision quick
  • Stay on your toes
  • Play the ball into the player within one touch
  • Keep the quality of the pass high
  • Ensure the weight of the pass is good

Drill Details

This drill / game encourages your players to make the right decision – quickly. There are 4 players. 3 of them have a number each. The other player must make the right decision. Start with Player 1 playing the ball into the ‘Decision Maker’ as they pass the ball in they must shout a number between 1 and 3. Whatever number they shout the Decision Maker must play a pass to that number without controlling the ball (one touch pass). The new player with the ball then repeats the process.

Progression

  • Change the call or stimulus – change the numbers to colors
Passing and Receiving Soccer Drill #11
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Timing of The Pass

[PassReceive] Timing of the Pass

For the setup, lay 4 cones down in a square shape. Then add two cones either side. You’ll need about a 20×20 – 30×30 available space to work with – although this could change depending on the ability, age group and challenge you want to set.
To successfully pass the ball across the designated area without hitting the ball or player dribbling through. This drill can help develop your players timing of their passes.
Suitable for; Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s

Coaching Points

  • Accuracy of the pass
  • Pace of the pass
  • Timing of the pass
  • Be aware of other players positions and runs
  • Ensure Group B players are intentional and fast with their dribbling
  • Passers need to recognize when to play the ball
  • Open up an angle to pass round the player
  • Communicate

Drill Details

The aim of this game to develop your players understanding of when to pass the ball and their overall game awareness. There are 2 groups of players. Group A pass the ball to each other while Group B dribble the ball through the center.

Progression

  • Progression: To progress this drill 2 players from Group dribble at the same time; one from the left and one from the right. This change the dynamic of the session just enough so you passers have to adapt

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