Passing is an integral part of soccer at any age and/or level.
The movement of the ball on the soccer field is used to try to pull the opposing players out of their intended position ultimately creating more space and time on the ball for the receiving player. It is also used to try to fatigue the opposing team’s players making it more likely they will make an error. Therefore, mastering the correct technique to pass the ball using the instep is critical to a players success.
First, let’s go over the basics involved in passing the ball with the instep:
- Position your standing foot directly in line or slightly behind the soccer ball with the toes facing forward.
- Position your passing foot at a 90-degree angle so that the instep is facing the ball.
- Slightly bend the knees to increase flexibility and balance.
- Place eyes on the ball after target has been identified (this becomes less dependent the more skilled the player).
- Lock your ankle so that the connection with the ball does not change the angle of your foot.
- Push through the ball and follow through so that your foot is aiming in the direction of the intended target.
If all the above steps are followed then this in-step pass can be mastered.
Now let’s look at a variety of different ways this technique can be utilized in a game.
- A pass to a teammate on the floor and directly to their feet.
- A pass in front of your teammate for them to run on to.
- A cross from a wide position that an advancing teammate can attempt to score.
- A shot on goal by accurately directing the ball to a position the goalkeeper cannot reach (bottom corner of the goal).
As you can see by the above examples, this passing technique can be used in a variety of ways. By mastering this technique and becoming extremely effective and efficient at using it can make a soccer player consistently good, which is a coach’s dream. An example of a player that has mastered this technique is Xavi of Spain and Barcelona. Xavi’s passing accuracy is tremendous and by mastering the technique of the instep he has become one of the world greatest players.
I would encourage any player regardless of age or ability to practice this technique repeatedly and to try to set personal goals to achieve a level of success. The good thing about this skill is all you need is a ball and a surface that will return you the ball. However, please be warned that using the side of the house may result in parents becoming extremely frustrated (taken from experience).