COVID Week 2: Passing and Defense

Games begin the second week. Some of your players will be really excited and others may be intimidated. Do your best to encourage them and show excitement about the game. Our focus at the recreation level is on participation, motivation, and enjoyment. We want children to have fun and challenge themselves by attempting what they are learning during practice. Prior to the game give your players one or two things to focus on such as correct throw-ins or challenge them to complete 3 passes in each half. Most importantly notice the progress players are making and mention it to them.

That being said remember that your practice time will be shorter the remaining weeks. Plan accordingly to ensure that you cover the skills. Coaches will be allowed to pop on the field to orient players to goal kicks, penalties, and kick offs. Positioning is a little more difficult to define in a 3v3 game but you are welcome to set up your kids as defense and forwards if you would like. The game will flow very fast and players may find themselves in may different places on the field. Please take a look at our Orientation for a general description of 3v3 games. Rules are available here.

WEEK TWO FOCUS: Passing and Defense

Remind your players what they have worked on the previous week and ask someone to demonstrate a throw in and how to dribble.

Passing is a very important and very under-utilized skill in the younger age groups. Players at this level often kick the ball away quickly and haphazardly. Make your first practice almost entirely about the passing skill. Encourage players to take their time and do it right before trying to do it fast.

Defense or defending should take up most of your second day of practice. At the 8-9 level you will largely focus on individual defending due to the skill level and lack of familiarity of the game. At the 10-12 age division you may be able to introduce team defending where players work together to put pressure on the player with the ball and cut off the potential pass.


Passing – Passing is the most important skill a player can learn in soccer. A player and a team that can pass the ball accurately and quickly will beat the team who only has a few fast players. No player is as fast as a pass. The most common pass is called the “push pass” and is accomplished using the inside of the foot near the ankle bone and the arch. Here is a good video to help explain the technique: (Special thanks to Online Soccer Academy – please like and subscribe to their channel).

Defending: Proper defending technique is actually quite amazing to watch and a player who masters this technique will quickly become very difficult to dribble around or score against. The following video will help you understand and teach proper defending to either age division.

Recommended Practice Format Week 2: 

Focus on passing one day and defending the next.

  1. Warm-Up: (Please see this video for a good example of warm-ups: WARM UPS )
  2. Water break
  3. Review previous week skills – ask questions of the players.
  4. Introduce and teach the new skill
  5. Practice the Skill
  6. Play the Skill
  7. 3v3 Game

DRILLS and GAMES: These are provided for you to build your practice.

Passing Drill 1: Make a circle with a few of your cones. Players stand by a cone.

    1. Players pass around the circle practicing good technique in passing and receiving.
      1. Coach’s Note: Encourage players to place their foot behind the ball to receive it (trap it). Encourage them to have soft feet to “catch” the ball.
      2. Coach’s Note: Watch for open hips, ball contact with the ankle bone. Tell players to point their heel toward their target.
    2. Time the players – Have them pass around the circle at random. How many passes can they complete in 20 seconds? See if they can beat their record by 3 passes the next time. Challenge them with this a few times.
    3. Add a defender – Either a coach or an assistant can go to the middle of the circle and put LIGHT pressure on the passers. You will notice that players will rush their passing and receiving. Many will miss the ball or pass inaccurately during this phase. Keep your pressure light and only increase it as their passing becomes more proficient.

Passing Drill 2: Battle Tanks

    1. Using the boxes we set up for social distancing protocols have players assigned to each box as shown in the image below.
    2. Players should pass back and forth focusing on accuracy and control.
      1. Coaching Tip: Use this time to compliment the progress players are making and to correct their form.
    3. Variation 1: Add two cones directly between the boxes (not shown in diagram). Players are challenged to pass between the cones to score a point. First player in each pair to 3 points wins. Players start again once they complete a game. Do this for a while and continue to watch accuracy and form in receiving and passing.
    4. Variation 2: Play Battle Tanks (as described below):

Passing Drill 3: Diamond Heist


Be familiar with the defensive techniques outlined in the Youtube video above.

Remember your practice format above as well.

Drill 1:

Drill 2:

Drill 3:

Close-up of Gate-Keepers Drill:

Additional Resources: (External Links) Not all of these will meet our social distancing protocol, but they may help you spark some creativity. 

  1. Passing Game 1
  2. Ball Exchange – Great for players to learn how to move and react to another team-mate while giving and taking the ball.
  3. Washington State Youth Soccer – U8 Passing Full Practice PDF
  4. Washington State Youth Soccer – U10 Passing Full Practice PDF
  5. Defending Drills by Footy4Kids (UK)

Thank you once again coaches for all of your help. Our ultimate goal is to provide a fun developmental soccer atmosphere for kids and their families. You help us to make it happen. If you have any questions or need some additional drills, or skills please reach out. I recommend It is one of the best places to find drills, and coaches aids.

Best Wishes,

Coach Joe

Director of Coaching

Bayside Soccer and Bayside Soccer Academy