How to Make the Perfect Pass in Soccer

Tips on How to Pass the Ball Short and Long

Xabi Alonso
Passing is a key skill in soccer and Bayern Munich's Xabi Alonso is one of the best in the business. Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images

Passing the ball in soccer is one of the key skills every player must master. Good passing leads to increased possession and a greater chance of victory in a match because how can you expect to score a goal if you don't have the ball? These pointers on good technique should help whether you're passing the ball short or long.

Short passing

The best way to achieve accurate short passing is to use the inside of your foot—the area from the central part of your heel right under your ankle to the base of your big toe. This gives greater control and maximizes the chance that the ball will reach your teammate. This increased accuracy means that a player has to be careful when making a pass, however, because an opponent will have a greater chance of reading the pass. The preparation time is longer and the pass is likely to be slower.

For best accuracy, try to make sure that your belly button is facing the teammate who you want to receive the pass. Try to approach the ball at about 30 degrees when possible and kick at a right angle. Turn your foot outward and lock the ankle so it's strong on contact with the ball. Bend the knee of your passing leg slightly so the foot is in the correct position to pass. With your standing foot about hip-width away from the ball, bring your kicking foot through and strike the middle of the ball with the inside of your foot. The goal of a short pass is generally to keep the ball low, making it easier for a teammate to control.

For increased power, follow through with the kicking leg. This will also help to increase the accuracy of the pass. You can hold your arms out from your body to improve your balance.

Long Passing

The aim of a long pass is to switch play or to find a teammate in space. A long pass is generally more attacking than a short pass, but this can depend on where you are on the field.

If you want to drive your pass, approach the ball at a 30-degree angle so you have room to swing your kicking leg through. Use your arms for balance. Position your non-kicking foot close to the side of the ball and keep your eyes on the ball. You must keep the knee of your kicking foot over the ball if you want to keep the ball low. Avoid leaning back as you strike the center of the ball with your laces, following through.

If you want increased power and height, hit the ball near the bottom, lean back further and follow through the ball more.

Ideally, you want to avoid having the ball bounce before it reaches your teammate. A bouncing ball is harder to control and can hold up an attack.