What is a through ball in soccer? A through ball is a soccer term used to describe a pass that is played between defenders to a teammate running towards the opponent’s goal.
Through balls are a fundamental part of soccer, and they can be an effective way to create scoring opportunities.
When executed correctly, a through ball can break down a team’s defense and create space for an attacking player to run onto the ball. It requires precision and accuracy, as the pass must be timed perfectly to avoid being intercepted by a defender.
It also required a special type of player to make the pass effectively. A player who can see the entire field and anticipate their teammates is at an advantage in this scenario.
In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at how through balls are played and the different types of through balls that exist.
What is a Through Ball?
A through ball is a soccer pass that is played between two or more defenders, with the intention of reaching a teammate who is making a run towards the opponent’s goal. The ball is played into space, allowing the receiving player to run onto it and gain an advantage over the defenders.
From a parent’s or fan’s perspective, it is breathtaking to watch when it’s executed to perfection. I’m still amazed when a 10-year-old can pull it off.
Through balls are often played by midfielders or attackers, and require a high level of skill and precision. They are typically used to break down a well-organized defense and can be a powerful weapon in a team’s attacking arsenal.
To execute a through ball successfully, the passer must possess the following:
- A good understanding of the player’s movement
- Knowing the positioning of their teammates
- Understanding the positioning of the opposing defenders
- Passing the ball into space so their teammate can meet it
Through balls can be played along the ground or in the air, and can be used to create a variety of attacking opportunities, such as one-on-one situations with the goalkeeper, or chances for a teammate to cross the ball into the box.
Learn How to Pass a Through Ball (Video)
Here’s how you can effectively learn how to pass a through ball…
The Strategy Behind a Through Ball in Soccer
Timing is Key
When executing a through ball, timing is very important. It’s vital to wait for the right moment to send the ball through to your teammate.
You need to be aware of the positioning of the defenders and the movement of your teammate to ensure the ball is played at the perfect time.
If you play the ball too early, your teammate may not be in the right position to receive it. If you play it too late, the defenders may have time to intercept the ball. There’s a fine line but you just need to trust your gut instinct because you usually don’t have much time to think about it.
As the passer, you need to ensure that the ball is played precisely to your teammate’s feet, allowing them to continue their run towards the goal.
A poorly executed through ball (pass behind your teammate or too much in front of them) can result in a missed opportunity for your team, or worse, a counter-attack from the opposition.
Speed of Play
The speed of play is also a critical factor when it comes to through balls. You need to be quick and decisive in your decision-making, as the window of opportunity can close quickly.
A hesitation in passing the ball can give the defenders time to close down the space and prevent the through ball from being successful.
Honestly, I’ve seen the momentum instantly change in youth and professional soccer games after a successful through ball that leads to a goal. Usually an offensive teams feed off of it and defensive teams get dejected from it.
Types of Soccer Through Balls
Ground Through Balls
Ground through balls are passes that are played on the ground, usually along the grass or turf. This is the most common type of through ball. They are often played through the defense to create a scoring opportunity for the attacking team. Ground through balls are effective because they are difficult for defenders to intercept and can be played quickly.
To execute a ground through ball, the passer must play the ball with enough power and accuracy to get it through the defense and to the intended recipient. The recipient must be quick and aware enough to make a run and get on the end of the pass.
Aerial Through Balls
Aerial through balls are passes that are played in (you guessed it) the air, usually with a lofted trajectory. They are often used to bypass a congested midfield or to play over a high defensive line.
Aerial through balls can be effective because they allow the attacking team to quickly transition from defense to attack and catch the opposition off guard.
To execute an aerial through ball, the passer must play the ball with enough height and accuracy to get it over the defense and to the intended teammate. The receiver of the pass must be quick and aware enough to make a run and get on the end of the pass.
Split Through Balls
Split through balls are passes that are played between two defenders, usually with a low trajectory. They are often used to create a one-on-one scoring opportunity for the attacking team. Split through balls can be effective because they are difficult for defenders to intercept and can be played quickly.
To execute a split through ball, the passer must play the ball with enough power and accuracy to get it between two defenders and to the intended recipient. The teammate must be quick and aware enough to make a run and get on the end of the pass.
Importance of a Through Ball in a Soccer Game
Breaking Down Defenses
When you execute a through ball, you are able to break down even the strongest defenses.
By passing the ball through the defense line, you open up space for your teammates to run into and create scoring opportunities.
A through ball is a powerful tool that can be used to create unexpected breaks in the defense, allowing your team to take advantage of the situation and score.
Creating Scoring Opportunities
By passing the ball through the defense line, you create space for your forwards to run into and receive the ball. This can sometimes lead to one-on-one situations with the goalkeeper, or even an open goal.
The through ball is a key component of any successful attacking strategy, and can be used to create numerous scoring opportunities throughout a game.
Through balls are also useful in maintaining possession of the ball. By passing the ball through the defense line, you force the opposing team to chase after the ball, giving your team time to regroup and maintain possession.
Additionally, through balls can be used to switch the play from one side of the field to the other, allowing your team to maintain possession and control of the game.
Which Players Usually Pass a Through Ball?
When it comes to executing a through ball in soccer, it’s not just the forwards who are responsible for this type of pass. In fact, any player on the field can pass a through ball, as long as they have the vision and skill to do so.
However, certain positions on the field tend to pass through balls more often than others. Here are the players who usually pass a through ball:
Midfielders are often the playmakers of a team, so it’s no surprise that they frequently pass through balls. They are the bridge between the backfield and the striker positions. They also have a good view of the entire field and can spot opportunities to send a through ball to their forwards.
In addition, midfielders are typically skilled at passing and have the ability to accurately place the ball where their teammates can receive it.
Forwards are the ones who are usually on the receiving end of a through ball, but they can also pass it themselves.
When a forward is facing a crowded defense, they may choose to pass a through ball to a teammate who is in a better position to score. For example, if a striker gets stuck with two players approaching them, they may skip a through ball to a winger to create a better scoring opportunity.
However, forwards may not pass through balls as often as midfielders, as their main focus is to score goals.
While fullbacks are primarily defensive players, they can also pass through balls when the opportunity arises.
Fullbacks who have good passing skills can send a through ball to their midfielders or forwards, which can catch the opposing team off guard and create scoring chances.
In conclusion, a through ball is an essential technique in soccer that allows a player to pass the ball through the opponent’s defense line to a teammate who is running towards the goal.
Through balls require accuracy, timing, and vision to execute successfully. They can be used in various situations, such as counterattacks, set pieces, and open play.
The through ball in soccer is all about having the right angle, trusting your gut, and making a pass confidently to the open space so your teammate can catch up to it.
With time, you’ll get a natural feel for when to make teh pass through or hold it back. But, I think having the awareness can give you the mindset that it’s possible!
Frequently Asked Questions
A through ball is a type of pass in soccer that is played with the intention of splitting the defensive team’s players. This creates a direct scoring opportunity. It is different from a regular pass because it is played into space, rather than directly to a teammate’s feet.
You should pass a through ball when you see an opportunity to play a teammate in behind the opposition’s defense. This can happen when the defense is playing a high line, leaving space in behind, or when a teammate has made a well-timed run into space. It is important to assess the situation quickly and trust your intuition. The window of opportunity for a through ball closes pretty quickly.
Yes, a through ball can be an effective way to create a scoring opportunity! If played correctly, a through ball can put a teammate towards the goal with only a defender or goalie to beat. However, it is important to note that not every through ball will result in a scoring opportunity. The intended receiver must still make a good run, beat the offside trap, and finish the chance.