When it comes to a weighted pass in soccer you have to first know what it is. Then you need to know how and why to do make it. There’s a difference of weighting your pass compared to just passing it hard. There are times a lightly weighted pass can be either short or long. Then there are times a heavy weighted pass can be short or long. Some people think if the distance is the same you can’t weight the pass, but this isn’t true. Below I explain more on this. Knowing is half the battle and then it comes down to practicing.
What a weighted pass is
Simply passing or shooting the ball hard or soft. Example: If you are about to shoot the ball and know it’s going to go high, take a little weight off your shot so that it goes over the keeper, but not over the goal. Another example would be passing a through ball between defenders for your teammate to run on to.
How to practice and improve a weighted pass in soccer
Set up targets or endzones to test the weight of your pass. Almost like a game of golf. In doing this you will know if you need to add or decrease your kicking power (weight).
You have to learn and practice getting the ball to the target from short and long distances. It’s really fun when you see the success. This not only builds your passing skills, but also confidence.
Using a wall or rebounder is another good way to practice weighting your pass. This might be your best teacher because you’ll definitely know when you are passing it hard or soft. If you pass it really hard it will obviously come back at you with about the same speed. Whereas if you pass soft, the ball might not even come back to you.
Difference between using a wall vs. “endzone”
The only difference from using a wall or rebounder, compared to passing the ball into an “endzone” or circle, square or triangle of cones (like in the video above) is you see where the ball stops.
Passing into an “endzone” helps build trust in yourself when passing the ball into space or towards the sideline or endline in a game. When you have experience with this practice, you have confidence you won’t pass the ball out of bounds.
A wall gives you more reps and also helps with your first touch as the ball comes back at you. Whereas the zone or target shows you where the ball stops/ends up. Both ways are good and fun.
Why a weighted pass in soccer is important
There are times when your teammates need to get the ball quickly with a heavy weighted pass and other times from a soft pass. The reason for a heavy weighted pass is to either break down a defense or if a defender is on your back. If you pass to your open teammate with a light weighted pass the other team can shift and keep their defensive shape. On the contrary if the pass is played in with power your teammate can get the ball before they opponents sets up. This will help your team find windows/openings between defenders.
Soft passes (lightly weighted) help for your teammates or you to be able to look up as the ball is coming. This helps you know where there are open players or defenders. Also a soft pass can help someone get a one touch pass or shot.
When to best weight your pass
A through ball is a great time to weight your pass. Depending on the situation, whether a direct or diagonal pass you’ll need to play a soft or harder pass. Usually a through ball needs to be soft, so that the ball doesn’t go to the keeper.
Passing a light weighted pass is when you want to set someone up for 1 touch shot or pass. Other times would be when you want your teammate to have time to look up and decide who to pass to before they get the ball. This could be in your own defensive half or attacking half of the pitch.
Heavy weighted passes would be when you want to get the ball to a teammate who needs to get the ball before a defender is on them. Another good time would be when you are crossing the ball on the ground. Then again, there are times when a cross needs to be soft. This all depends on the many situations.
Must lock your ankle every pass
Whether you are passing short, long, light or heavy, make sure you always lock your ankle. Locking your ankle doesn’t mean you need to kick the ball harder.
To do this, make all the ligaments and muscles tight/contracted when passing. Tightening this area helps you make crisp, clean passes or shots.
Teach and learn by parents, coaches, friends kneeling down to hold the players foot. If you want them to lock the ankle with the toes up for a inside push pass, have them keep their toes up and lock, while you try to gently press down. You can tell if they are locking the ankle or keeping everything relaxed. Do the opposite if you want to learn to lock ankle with toes down. This registers to the brain, building muscle memory and letting them know how and what to do going forward.