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Coaching Passing to Young Players

When Coaching young players how to pass it is important they learn the difference between the control hand and the guide hand.

The Control Hand - is the hand used to rotate and push the ball towards the target (the ball should always rotate in towards the body)
The Guide Hand - is the hand in which the ball rests

3 Key Learning Points

It is always important to only use 3 learning points for young players. For passing the most important things to remember are;

1. Pick Your Target
- focus on the target and don't take your eyes off it. Allow for the movement of the target, judge to pass in front of the target.

2. Shoot from the Hip - rotate the guide hand in towards the body and push the ball towards the target from the hip, try not to  take a back swing.

3. Follow Through - the player should finish with his/her hand pointing at the target and the shoulders fully rotated.

Practice Through Games

Young players learn quicker when they play games. Therefore, to teach a young player how to pass simple pass and evasion games are often the best alternative.

A good game to begin with is a simple passing duel.

- Get the players to find a partner and face each other.
- Give them one ball and explain that the aim is to pass the ball, using only the control hand to the other players chest.
- Once each player has successfully passed the ball both players take a step back and repeat the process.
- The players continue repeating this process until one player drops the ball (the ball can be caught with both hands) or the pass doesn't reach the target. At this point the player who made the mistake loses and the game starts again.
- Pairs can be played off against each other to see who can pass the furthest.

The next step is to hit a moving target.

There are plenty of games that involve or can be adapted to introduce passing at moving targets. Here is one simple game called Cowboys and Indians or Wild West Passing (shown in the videos).

- Line all the players at a marker (Indians).
- Choose one player to be the Cowboy and stand him/here approximately 2 metres - 5 metres away from the Indians (depending on the skill level).
- Tell the Indians they are to run directly through the firing zone to another maker 10 metres on front.
- Give the Cowboy 3 or 4 balls and tell him/her to pass the ball at the Indian, aiming to hit them before they pass by. (usually it's good, for this exercise, to set the target below the waist to reduce hits in the head).
- Once all the Indians have run through (regardless of if they get hit or not), they stop at the other cone and wait to go back. At this point a new Cowboy can be chosen and any teaching points added.
- When the players understand the game more Cowboys can be added making it harder to avoid the passes.

For a game sheet click here

Notice how Mitch uses
- Questions to coach key learning points
- Demonstrates each action
- Keeps instructions short and clear

Here is a short demonstration of a game called Cowboys and Indians.