Session Plan – Passing to create an advantage

Session plan and words by Xhulio Zeneli.

Last week, one of La Liga’s top sides – Valencia C.F. – held a football camp for kids aged 5-18 years old in Albania. I had the opportunity to be one of the coaches of this camp, working with the youngest age group – 5-9. The camp lasted four days, with kids from different cities and countries taking part. One of the training days was focused entirely around passing, which I believe is the most important aspect of the game that a young player should learn. Passing may seem like a simple concept, but the art of passing extends to so much more beyond just technique. It extends to scanning of the field, receiving, moving into open space and recognizing how to take advantage of the opposition. So with that, here is a session plan all about how to pass to create an advantage.



4V1 or 5v1 Rondo. Defender is limited to an inside box. If defender wins the ball they come out of the middle circle and take the place of the player that gave the ball away.

Progress to limiting the number of touches on the ball to increase tempo of the passes. Implement a scoring system for the team in possession.

– Quick circulation of the ball.
– One-two-touch passing.
– Fake one way with body language and go the other. Read body positioning of defender.
– Technique of how to pass with both feet.

activity: rondo 4 v 2 in 2


4v2 rondo, with the defending team only allowed to pressure in a 2v1. The other defending player must move across the middle to intercept passes, rather than engaging in the first line of pressure. Teams score for every pass across the line. Defenders switch out instantly after winning the ball with the team of players that lost possession becoming the new defenders.


– Timing of the pass forward. Do not rush it forward when the pass isn’t on. Shield/protect ball when under pressure or use 1v1 moves to evade pressure and find the right time to pass to teammate on own side and across the other side.
– Receiving on the half-turn to play in both directions.
– Technique of how to pass with both feet.

activity: 3v2, 2v1


2 zones to start – one in a 3v2 and the other is a 1v1. Ball starts with the white team in a 3v2 in the tighter area of the two. The 3 players must play out from the back and release into the forward in the other zone at the right moment with a pass. After making a pass into the 1v1 zone, the white team player that passed the ball into that zone transitions to attack to make it a 2v1. If at any time the defenders recover the ball, either in the 3v2 or the 2v1, they look to score on the mini goals at the end of the field. The attacking team scores in the big net on the goalkeeper at the end of the field. If players need to wait, either change the numbers to fit everyone in (e.g. 4v3 and a 2v2 that becomes 3v2) or rotate players.


– After a pass into the striker, create open space by stretching the field.
– Transition quickly (both teams).
– Receive on the half-turn in the 3v2.
– Movement of the striker to find space for a pass.
– Technique of how to pass with both feet.

activity: 4v4 + 1 with 2 zones


Game principles will now begin to be applied in the session as the final activity moves into a more game-realistic scenario. This game does however still feature a condition. The game is set-up 4v4 + 1 neutral player (joker). However, the team without the ball (defending team) is only allowed to have 2 players in each half of the space. This should create greater room for the attacking team to identify how to best use their numbers advantage, create overloads, and attack quickly in 3v2, 4v2, etc. situations. Progress to allow players to move freely around the pitch and finish with a final game.


– How to take advantage of overloads through quick combinations and recognizing space in the moment.
– Scanning of the field to see space and numbers advantage, to see best options for a pass, when to shoot when to pass, when to dribble, etc.
– Quick one-two-touch passes to take advantage of overload.
– Technique of how to pass.


Finish with a game with no restrictions. Allow players to make mistakes, take risks and put into practice all of the principles over the course of the session.

So there it is! A session plan all about passing to create a numbers advantage by Xhulio Zeneli. Be sure to check out more coaching content, via our Coach Education Learning Lab. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

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