Football Basics – Lofted pass techniques

Why use lofted pass?

Although ground passes are easier for the receiver to control the ball, there are some occasions that the only way to exploit space behind opponents is to loft the ball over defenders’ head. For example, if the back four defend well like a wall in front of the goal, then the only way to attack the space behind the back four is to loft the ball into the penalty area. Moreover, a good lofted pass can attack the space quickly. A good example was Dennis Bergkamp’s goal vs. Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. The long lofted pass was made by Frank De Boer.

Which basic techniques can be used?

There are three basic techniques: lofted drive, volley and chip. The following organisation charts shows the details of the techniques.

Air pass organisation chartFigure 1. Organisation charts showing the basic techniques of lofted pass

The following tables summarise the advantages and disadvantages of different types of techniques:

Lofted Drive:

Contact surface & approach Advantages Disadvantages
1. Instep – slightly angled  approach
  • > 40 yards
  • With considerable pace, giving little chance to recover
  • Ball not rise steeply, difficult to clear defenders nearby (<10 yards)
2. Instep – wided-angled approach

wide angle

  • >40 yards
  • Not difficult to control
  • Possible to put backspin
  • Steeper trajectory
  • Can’t be hit with as much pace as some other methods. Therefore, defenders have more time to adjust position when the ball is in flight
3. Outside of the foot

outside

  • >40 yards
  • With pace
  • Can be swerved away from defenders, making interceptions more difficult
  • Difficult to control
  • Not rise steeply
  • The ball will continue to roll away after pitching, difficult to judge the pace of the pass into space
4. Inside of the foot

inside

  • >40 yards
  • With pace
  • Be swerved away from defenders
  • Be swerved into path of attacker
  • Easy to control
  • Rise reasonably steeply
  • The ball will continue to roll away after pitching, difficult to judge the pace of the pass into space

Volley Pass:

Contact surface & approach Advantages Disadvantages
1. Straight approach

volley straight

  • Over the heads of opponents who are a few yards from the ball
  • Played early
  • Long distances
  • With pace
  • Can be “dipped” by imparting topspin to the ball
  •  Difficult to control accuracy
  • Difficult to control pace
2. Sideway approach

volley sideway

  • Over the heads of opponents who are a few yards from  the ball
  • Long distances
  • With pace
  • Played early
  • Even more difficult to control accuracy
  • Difficult to control pace

Chip Pass:

Contact surface & approach Advantages Disadvantages
1. Straight approach

chip

  • Because of the backspin, the ball will rise very steeply.
  • Able to clear the heads of opponents only 5,6 yards from the ball
  • Possible to stop the ball in a small space because of backspin
  • Only 20-25 yards
  • Players running on to the pass may find the ball difficult to control as they would be moving against the spin

Reference:

Netherlands – Argentina: Bergkamp Goal 1998 (HD), 2010 [online video]. By Frank de Jong. [viewed 23 December 2013]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsZkCFoqSBs

HUGHES, C., 1987. Soccer Tactics and Skills. Great Britain: Queen Anne Press

HUGHES, C., 1990. The Winning Formula. London: William Collins Sons & Co Ltd

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About Leo Chan

I am the founder of footballperformanceanalysis.com. I work as a performance analyst and football coach. With experience of working within professional football club, I am competent at using performance analysis products (SportsCode Gamebreaker and Prozone). I am a graduate of Football Studies in Southampton Solent University. I have in-depth knowledge of football tactics, coaching and football principles. My goal is to combine the knowledge of football and performance analysis.

Posted on 31/12/2013, in Basics, Passing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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