Player Reflection Tool

Passing decisions


Complete the form

First, complete the 55 questions below as accurately as you can

Choose a topic area

View your results and choose an area to study

Identify two aims

Use video tasks to identify two specific things to work on

Practice to improve

Let your coach know what you are working on

This webpage has been especially designed to help you improve the decisions you make in football games. Your mission is to complete all the homework tasks below and identify two key specific things that you want to work on and try to improve in your practice sessions, team training or on your own.

We will describe the skill of "Scanning", and see how this can help improve decisions, and we will study two of the best passers in football, Saki Kumugai and Ivan Rakitic.


Ideally, you need to have an idea of what you want to do with the ball BEFORE it gets to you. Scanning is the skill of looking around you (including behind you) that helps you to build a picture of what is happening around you. Scanning will help you make better passing decisions.


One of the very best passers of the ball is World Cup Winner, Andrea Pirlo. In this video you will see how he often finds enough space to make good passing decisions. Even in crowded areas, he knows what is around him, and where team-mates, opponents and spaces are.

  • How does scanning help the players make better decisions?

When you watch football games on TV, or when you go to see your team play, see if you can recognise when a player scans the pitch. Rather than following the ball with your eyes, watch a particular player and see what they do before they get the ball.

Long passing and switching the point of attack

Switching play is when the team with the ball moves the ball from one side of the pitch to the other. If a team is able to do this quickly and accurately, then they may gain an advantage because the defending team may be caught off-guard.


Ivan Rakitic is a master at both long and short range passing. Here is a collection of his best longer passes for Barcelona. 

  • How does he know when to pass long, what does he see and when does he see it?
  • How does it help his team when he quickly switches the point of attack with a long pass?

Keeping the ball

Usually, the most important thing to consider when passing is not to let the other team get the ball. Sometimes it won't be possible to play a forward pass or through ball or switch the play when you receive the ball.  A good footballer will recognise when it's a good idea to try to switch play or try an attacking pass, and when it is best to play safely


Watch Japan captain, Saki Kumagai, in this video and answer the questions below. Kumagai plays for Olympique Lyon and the video shows highlights from their Champion's League victory in 2016.

  • What stops Kumagai from passing forward, and what does she decide to do in these situations?
  • After she has passed the ball back or sideways, what kind of movement should she make?

Precise, considerate passing

When we pass the ball, we don't only need to decide who to pass to. Passes need to be made so the receiving player can control them and keep the ball. We need to consider exactly how and where we will pass.


Pass number 1 (on the left) may be a riskier pass than pass number 2. This is because pass number 1 is close to the defender. It is more possible that the defender will win the ball if you use pass number 1. If our main priority is to keep the ball, then pass number 2 is a better one.

We need to be very careful and precise with our passes. In your football sessions and games, try to think about where your team-mate wants the pass to go. Be accurate and considerate with your passing.

It is especially important to consider our passing when we play futsal, because the areas and spaces are smaller and we need to be even more careful with the weight and accurary of our pass. Watch the video below which starts with a beautiful team goal from FC Barcelona. See how careful and accurate each pass is. The players make good decisions about where and when to pass, trying to keep the ball, until a chance occurs to pass forward...

Player Reflection Tool - Home

Dear Learner,

Welcome to your HOMEWORK page! Here you will learn about your chosen topic. It is a good idea to save the URL for this page to your favourites so you can easily return to it when you need to.

You need to work through the tasks on the page, one at a time. This might mean watching videos, it might mean doing other tasks and activities. It may be a good idea to take notes also. Remember that the more work and effort you put into the tasks, the more you will learn and the better you will become.

For most topics, there will be a PRINT OUT at the bottom of the page. You need to print this, complete the questions, and take to your coach. You need to do this so the coaches know what you are working on and are able to help you.

If any of the links on this page are broken, or you have other ideas or suggestions, please get in touch at:


Mark Carter

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Once you have completed all the homework, click on the 'Print the form' link. This will open a form which you need to print out and complete. Take this completed form to your coach.

Then click here to move onto the last part of the Tool.

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Mark Carter

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