Tips for Passing the Soccer Ball Back to Your Goalie

The goalie is usually open - (Photo:

For outfield soccer players, there are times when none of your teammates are presenting a decent outlet for a pass.  You can do one of several things in these moments.  You can heave the ball downfield in the hopes a teammate latches onto it (although the more likely scenario is that your opponent will collect the blind pass), you can try to single-handedly find space yourself at the risk of losing possession in a dangerous part of the field, or you can pass the ball back to your goalie.

Passing the ball back to the goalie helps your team keep possession and re-organize itself for a new attack.  However, passing the ball back to your team’s goal comes with its fair share of risks and must be done carefully.  Opponents can jump onto lazy passes and end up scoring goals.  Or, your goalie may lose possession of the ball, resulting in the opponent scoring a goal.  Anyone who watched the USA-Germany friendly yesterday will long remember this failed back pass:

Here are some tips to make sure that when you do pass back to the goalie that you are doing so wisely:

Keep your head up.  You need to make sure that passing the ball to your goalie really is the only safe option.  Perhaps a fellow defender or midfielder is running to an open space for a safer pass.  You may want to look around and see what options are on the table.

Looking up is also crucial in determining whether an opposing player might be lurking in the path of your intended back pass.  If your pass is weak or slightly off-target, a sneaky striker might just intercept it and tear off towards your goal on a breakaway.  You absolutely do not want that to happen.  This is typically something that happens when a player doesn’t look up before making that pass to the goalie.  Therefore, make sure you are aware of your surroundings before making that pass.

Also, make sure the pass is a solid one that reaches your goalie.  You want him or her to receive the ball in an easy fashion without having to make too much of an effort to retrieve it.  Try to keep the pass on the ground because goalies are not allowed to use their hands in collecting a back pass.

Another thing to remember is the weather.  If the field is wet from rain and the ball is skidding around the field, you probably should avoid passing the ball back to your goalie, because you run the risk of scoring an own goal if an awkward bounce tricks your keeper.  Sometimes losing possession in your own half is actually a better option than sending a tricky ball into the path of your goal!

Passing back to the goalie can be the smart and safe option but it can also make an outfield player the goat in blowing a close game.  Be smart and use common sense when you think about sending that ball backwards.  Most importantly, remember to keep your head up when playing soccer so that when you do pass back to your goalie, you are making the best pass for your team!



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