Passing Patterns to Combine

The following session comes from Juan Sanchez, Head Coach at Mt. San Antonio College, and was presented at the Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic. Find out more about the Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic.

Passing patterns are designed patterns which players execute in a pre-set order. The patterns can range from very simple to very complex. These Passing Patterns to Combine drills develop technical ability, increase coordination of player movements, establish timing & rhythm, increase passing accuracy and player focus.


Session 1

Equipment: 5 cones, 2-4 soccer balls

Set-up: Distance from A to B = 15-20 yards; B to C = 15-20 yards (depends on the level or age group)

Players: 8-10

Variation 1: A passes to B and takes the place of B; B receives, turns and passes to C; C plays 1-2 with B; B goes to C; C receives and dribbles to A

Variation 2: This is the same but instead of B turning there is a 1-2 with A and a pass from A to C; the final sequence is the same with A going to B, B going to C and C dribbling to A

Communication is very important: "Back" or "Turn"

passing patterns to combine

This is the same as variation 1 and 2 but now incorporates the diagonal pass.

Important: Movements stay the same with A moving to B, B to C and C dribbling to A.

passing patterns to combine with a diagonal pass

Key Coaching Points:

  • Always explain the "why" or purpose of exercise
  • All passes have to be at pace
  • The Pass from A to the left side has to be with right foot, and to the right side with the left foot
  • The check from B has to be vertical and reception on the left side has to be with left foot and right side with right foot
  • Open hips and "PLAY WHAT IS IN FRONT OF YOU"
  • Communication

Session 2

Equipment: 8 cones, 8 soccer balls (4 are in play and 4 are as back ups)

Set-up: Distance from A to B all around the diamond is 15-20 yards. The middle diamond is 4 x 4. All variations will do the same movements to one side at the same time.

Players: 12-16

Variation 1: A passes to B, B turns and dribbles to A. A moves to B, B dribbles to A. All four A's are doing the same pattern at the same time. Timing is very important. Run for 45 seconds to 1:20 then change direction.

Variation 2: Same as 1 but B will pass to A. Change direction.

Variation 3: Same as previous but A and B combine for a 1-2 and A passes in to A. Same rotation, A moves to B, B to A and change direction.

Variation 4: Same as 3 but after the 1-2 between A and B, B will show for a 1-2 with A.

passing patterns to combine in a diamond

5 v 4 + 1 or 6 v 5 + 1 Possession Game

Depending on the level of players restrictions can be added on touch limitation. Defensive team is always unlimited.

  1. Unlimited
  2. 2 Touch
  3. 1 Touch
  4. Mandatory 2 Touch

3 to 5 minute games

  • 5 keep possession, 4 work to recover ball and look to play to to target player. If successful teams reverse rolls.
  • Team A will play with 5 and Team B with 4 until they recover ball and play target in.
  • Continue to rotate target player when team loses possession
  • Competition
  • 6 passes equals a goal
5 v 4 + 1 possession game

Key Coaching Points:

  • Continue to "play what is in front of you"
  • Movement off the ball, good firm passing (good pace)
  • Receive with proper angles
  • Communication" "turn" or "back"