Long Passing: Lofted Drive

Tactical Point – When & Where

Soccer Lofted Pass Technique
The lofted drive is the ideal pass to use when looking to spring an attacker behind the defence. These lofted drives are often played from defence over the top of the midfield and towards the forwards in a straight line up the pitch.

But a lofted drive is much more effective when it is used to switch play from one side of the field to the other – when played as a diagonal ball. This option is most frequently available in the wide areas of the pitch and can be used to change the point of attack to a wide midfielder in space, or to bring an attacking full-back into play.

Technique – Coaching Points

  • Approach the ball at a slight angle.
  • Plant your non-kicking foot alongside the ball but maintain a fairly wide stance.
  • Bring your kicking leg through a large backswing, using your arms for balance.
  • Keep your head steady with your eyes looking down at the point of contact on the ball.
  • Strike ball with ridge above your big toe, through the horizontal midline – this ensures a straight pass.
  • To loft the ball, strike beneath the ball’s vertical midline and follow-through with the kicking foot.


This technique can be practiced in isolation between a group of two or three players spaced 20 yards apart (and by increasing the distance as they gain competency).

However, you should quickly progress your players into exercises and games which provide the context for this skill.

To coach switching play set-up small-sided games in which a target player is restricted to channels on the wing.

To coach more direct play arrange your pitch so that each team’s attackers and defenders are separated by a 20 yard ‘no-go zone’ which only the ball can pass through.

Further Advice

There are dozens of decisions our players need to make when playing a long pass.

Watch them play and, if you identify an opportune moment, you can talk to individual players (or small groups) about some of these choices which affect the effectiveness of their lofted drives:

  • How do they decide whether they have time to play a lofted drive?
  • Are they looking for short passes to an open teammate that might be more likely to be successful?
  • How can they identify whether their teammate is ready to receive the ball?
  • Would their target want the ball played to their feet, or would they create a better chance from a ball played into space?
  • How hard the ball must be hit to reach the right place at the right time?
  • Is there enough space for the ball to roll into?
  • How might they apply spin to slow the ball’s pitch down?

Your Thoughts

Have you learned anything from this article you can apply to your sessions? Is there anything I’ve missed or which you’d like to add for the benefit of the other coaches who read this?

Let me know by leaving a comment below, or you can visit the contact page to send me an email. I love to hear your thoughts!

  • We often use lofted drives to get the ball behind the defence and it's a great weapon to have in your arsenal. I've just posted a drill about diagonal crosses in my site, take a look.
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