Filed hockey passing building blocks_and_principles
1. Principles of a passing game
Building a passing game requires a level of understanding between teammates. The understanding is
not achieved with an adhoc or improvised pattern of play during a game or practice. The understanding
is built upon a set of basic patterns that all players on the team practice and employ during match
The objective of a passing game can be expressed in the context of the position of the field that the
passing is taking place in. Defensive passing is designed to transfer the ball from the defense to the
midfield or attack without losing possession of the ball and to break presses by the opposing team.
Midfield passing is designed to build up (retain possession) while looking for scoring opportunities.
Attacking play is designed to generate shots on goal and set pieces.
An additional requirement for a passing game is the ability to change the tempo of the game as dictated
by the phase of the game. The phases of the game are determined by the time, score, and recent events
on the field. If the other team has scored has a lot of ball possession, it is a tight game and a few
minutes left all are different situations which dictate different tempos and ball possession and passing
The passing game is built on a set of building blocks which a team learns over time. The building
blocks are combined to produce more elaborate passing patterns on the field. Advanced passing
involves the ability to take any building block and rotate, invert, of flip the pattern that was learned in
Passing building blocks can be defined based on the alphabet: X's, V's, Z's, C's, L's, … And by curls,
circles, triangles, counterflows, … These building blocks are used by top teams like Barcelona to create
elaborate passing patterns. The patterns are designed to possess the ball, transfer the ball from defense
to the midfield, and to pass through balls to forwards slicing into the defense.
These patterns are evident and occur over and over in both soccer and field hockey. Certain teams run
the same patterns of play on the field over and over. The “special one” is said to have a playbook with
approximately 35 plays/drills that the players have to learn.
There are some common principles that the best passing teams in the world employee.
1. Know where you are going to pass before you receive the ball.
2. Either the passer or the receiver must maintain a clear path with their teammates (don't hide
3. Attack the top of defensive triangles.
4. Move players into defensive triangles to maintain a path between the receiver and the ball.
5. Push the ball up the field to advanced positions and hold the territory.
6. The ball carrier should move away from the defenders.
7. The receiver can receive the ball with their back to the defender and hold the territory.
8. Run the ball at the defense and then pass back and change the play.