Test 6: Minimal pressure loss
A joy to watch, the ability to play pinpoint long passes to team-mates can make a player world class. Precision passing from stars like Tomas Rosicky, Steven Gerrard and Luis Figo can turn defence into instant counter-attack and catch an entire back line off guard.
But why play a long pass?
- To clear the ball from defence
- To change the focus of attack
The aim of the pass
Long passes are normally used to find a distant team-mate. However, long balls are also employed to exploit the space behind opponents and put a team-mate through on goal.
The high ball
Long passes are normally hit high through the air becausethe ball needs to be lifted over opponents. To get height on a pass, strike the bottom half of the ball and follow through, while leaning backwards slightly. You should plant your standing foot alongside the ball and kick the ball with the inside of your other foot.
The perfect pass
When you are passing to a team-mate, you should not really spin the ball. However, when you are playing the ball into space, hit the pass with backspin to make it hold up. To impart backspin, strike the lowest part of the ball that you can so that it rotates towards you as it flies through the air.
The seven tests
that a football
has to pass to receive
a FIFA quality mark
Minimal pressure loss
It is hard to hit a long or high pass if the ball has lost pressure during the match. If the ball’s pressure is low, it will be difficult to predict its flight and it will not roll normally.