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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


  • >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


  • >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


  • 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


Netherlands – Argentina: Bergkamp Goal 1998 (HD), 2010 [online video]. By Frank de Jong. [viewed 23 December 2013]. Available from:

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

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


Football Basics – Ground pass techniques

There are five basic techniques could be used to execute a ground pass. The following table summarises the advantages and disadvantages of different types of techniques:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
1. Inside of the foot – Pushpush
  • Offers the best accuracy because of the large surface of the boo presented to the ball
  • Easy for defenders to predict
  • Difficult to generate power so it is unsuitable for long passing
  • Difficult to execute on the run because it is impossible to position correctly without interrupting the stride pattern
2. Instep (laces)instep
  • Easy to disguise intentions
  • Possible to add power and pace to make it available both for long passing and shooting
  • Can be made while running
  • It is a difficult technique to be executed
3. Outside of the foot – flickoutside flick
  • To be made with the minimum of the foot movement and maximum of disguise
  • Only be used over short distances
4. Outside of the foot – swerveoutside swerve
  • To be used to bend the ball around an opponent
  • Over long distance so it is a valuable shooting technique
  • Be used when running
  • Draw the ball away from the goalkeeper when crossed from a flank
  • The more swerve required, the more difficult it is to execute this technique
5. Inside of the foot – swerveinside
  • Bent around an opponent
  • Be used over short and long distances
  • The ball can easily be lifted a few inches over a defender’s outstretch legs
  • Great deal of swerve can be imparted
  • Draw the ball away from goalkeeper when crossed from the flank
  • Never go straight, always be spinning, possibly making control more difficult

The best footage I can think of to show the execution of the ground passes to create a goal is the second goal of Argentina vs. Serbia & Montenegro at the 2006 World Cup. Most of the passes involved were ground passes and some of the techniques they used are not covered in these 5 basic techniques (e.g. back heel pass).


Argentina 25 passes goal, 2006 [online video]. By kwanbis. [viewed 23 December 2013]. Available from:

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

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

‘Why foreign players migrate and the effect their involvement has had on English football since the inception of the Premier League’ (Part 1)

I’d like to begin my first blog by thanking Leo for inviting me along on this journey. I very much look forward to adding to the fantastic work he has done already. The first issue I would like to discuss is the perceived effect that foreign players are having on the English game. It’s a topic I find very interesting, and I feel is often blown out of proportion by everyone involved in the game today. The blogs that follow will be an investigation and analysis of the current state of the issue and the major views involved.

There has been a common and growing concern for a number of years amongst English football fans (Solberg & Haugen, 2008) and senior figures in world football – FIFA President Sepp Blatter, UEFA President Michel Platini, and English PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor – that the mass migration of foreign players to the English Premier League is having a detrimental effect on the English game, and its development of young English talent (Ferguson, 2007; Taylor, 2007). When speaking to BBC’s Inside Sport Sir Trevor Brooking (2007) stated that “you [can’t] underestimate [the threat of foreign players] and people are [only] just starting to identify it”. These concerns lie in accordance with the PFA’s ‘Meltdown’ report, which was commissioned following England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008. Taylor (2007) states within the report that:


“The price of the unrestricted flow of foreign players into England has been the loss of a generation of English players. Indeed, we are close to losing a second generation and if current trends continue – as all evidence suggests they will – we are, at best, ten years away from having too few English players to mount a serious World Cup campaign.” 

These concerns have continued to grow after England’s more recent mediocre performances during the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. However, some academics (Elliott & Weedon, 2010) suggest these views and concerns have been sensationalized by the British media and are in-fact not even close to the truth.

Three main arguments that have arisen from the on-going debate on foreign players: firstly, that a process of ‘feet-drain’ is occurring in English football, with foreign players stifling indigenous player development, and replacing them, or taking their opportunities for first team football (Elliott & Weedon, 2010). Secondly, that at the ‘donor’ level a process of ‘deskilling’ is occurring outside of England in the lesser economically developed countries such as Africa (Maguire et al., 2002; Maguire & Pearton, 2000). Thirdly, the migration of foreign players particularly to England is creating an imbalance in world football which is a view firmly held by FIFA President, Sepp Blatter (2008), who declared that:

“It’s not morally right, and competition loses all balance, when the big clubs buy 25 top players to deprive other teams of them and then hoard them because they can only have 11 players on the park.”

Now I have introduced this subject to you, I’d like to hear you initial views and opinions. Feel free to contribute to the discussion via the comments box. In part two of this blog I will discuss a brief history of elite labour migration, and explore some of the reasons for why we have seen this dramatic intensification of foreign player migrating to England and Europe.


Blatter, S. (2008). Football Gives Hope. Available from: [last accessed January 04, 2013)

Brooking, T. (2007). English football under threat. Available from: [last accessed January 04, 2013)

Elliott, R., and G. Weedon. (2010) Foreign players in the premier academy league: ‘Feet-drain’ or ‘feet-exchange’? International Review for the Sociology of Sport 46(1): 61–75.

Ferguson, A. (2007). Ferguson calls for a cap on foreign players. Available from: [last accessed January 04, 2013)

Maguire, J. and R. Pearton. (2000). The impact of elite labour migration on the identification, selec­tion and development of European soccer players. Journal of Sports Sciences 18: 759–769.

Maguire, J., G. Jarvie, L. Mansfield, and J. Bradley. (2002). Sport Worlds: A Sociological Perspective. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Soldberg, H.A., and K.K. Haugen. (2008). The international trade of players in European club football: consequences for national teams. International Trade of Players. Unknown, 79-93

Taylor, G. (2007). Meltdown: The Nationality of Premier League Players and the Future of English Football. London: Professional Footballers’ Association.

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