To simple pass, or not TOO simple pass, that is the question

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Zlatan5
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To simple pass, or not TOO simple pass, that is the question

Post by Zlatan5 » 13 Dec 2012, 23:04

Little background for yall. My career has seen me move all about the field (other than center-back, although I do play it in indoor). I started out as a forward who just used bursts of pace to latch onto balls played into space, then became a winger who used pace to do damage on the flanks, and on the odd occasion play a wingback to use my pace to lock down other speeders. After highschool, in my last club years I moved in and out from the wings to a center-forward where I would use my runs to pull defenders out of position and set myself up in space to receive and create chances for the striker I was supporting or my midfielders. Then in the men's league I played in I moved backwards to a holding-mid where I found surprisingly a fair amount of success because of my stamina, speed, and thrill for a bone crunching tackle.

As of recent, for my intramural teams and college club, I find myself playing a utility role, since I can play anywhere on the pitch. But have found a kind fondness for a deep-lying role within the midfield. Wherein lies my question, what would you guys prefer, a standard box to box type midfielder, or a deep-lying midfielder who guards the back four, and recycles possession?

The reason I ask is because whenever I have played the deeper role in college, I tend to play extremely conservative, almost like Joe Allen or Leon Britton at their times at Swansea. This somewhat frustrated a lot of my teammates who were always wanting to play direct and look for defense splitting passes. To be quite frank, while I do like to have a go at a mazy run or a Xabi Alonso-esque diagonal ball, I find great satisfaction in just making a short simple pass, then pulling off back into space and demanding the ball again only to play it into another open player. Even in indoor, I play defense, and just camp at the half line ready to cut out any through balls or close down players, but always sit back and stay ready to receive and recycle. Which to be fair, I think in indoor my teammates appreciate the fact that I am willing to do dirty work and keep things simple when the game is starting to pick up momentum against us.

Rarely do I ever attempt a pass beyond say 15 to 20 yards. I understand my teammates frustration at times, as I tend to slow the game down. But what do you guys prefer in your midfield?

Rome_Leader
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Re: To simple pass, or not TOO simple pass, that is the ques

Post by Rome_Leader » 13 Dec 2012, 23:43

I did not expect the question from the title. :p

But I'd have to say it's largely situational dependent. Myself, I prefer to play the possession game. I am a wing midfield player by trade, although I have occasionally plyed my trade in the center. When I'm in the center, I do all I can to back tackle, and ensure I never give up possession cheaply, so that involves a lot of short, often backward, passes. As a winger midfield player, however, I'm required to play box to box to supply balls in the box for what is usually a solo man up front for my club. But I always like to see teammates retaining possession, rather than trying to finesse their way through a tight situation. To me, that is part of the beauty of football. You can be just as riveted by a 23 pass orchestra as a dazzling Elastico and a burst of speed. It is really down to personal preference. I can't tell you which is "best" or that because your teammates dislike a style that it is wrong (although we are often forced to yield to majority vote - soccer is a team sport after all.)

Maybe try to help players see it your way if you prefer a certain style and they don't. The most important, overriding thing, though, is to play what you're comfortable playing. If you haven't the pace or the vision to be a super mobile midfielder, you can be just as effective facilitating and providing in a more subdued role. Just gotta put the effort in to make it work. ;)
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Zlatan5
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Re: To simple pass, or not TOO simple pass, that is the ques

Post by Zlatan5 » 14 Dec 2012, 00:17

Rome_Leader wrote:I did not expect the question from the title. :p

But I'd have to say it's largely situational dependent. Myself, I prefer to play the possession game. I am a wing midfield player by trade, although I have occasionally plyed my trade in the center. When I'm in the center, I do all I can to back tackle, and ensure I never give up possession cheaply, so that involves a lot of short, often backward, passes. As a winger midfield player, however, I'm required to play box to box to supply balls in the box for what is usually a solo man up front for my club. But I always like to see teammates retaining possession, rather than trying to finesse their way through a tight situation. To me, that is part of the beauty of football. You can be just as riveted by a 23 pass orchestra as a dazzling Elastico and a burst of speed. It is really down to personal preference. I can't tell you which is "best" or that because your teammates dislike a style that it is wrong (although we are often forced to yield to majority vote - soccer is a team sport after all.)

Maybe try to help players see it your way if you prefer a certain style and they don't. The most important, overriding thing, though, is to play what you're comfortable playing. If you haven't the pace or the vision to be a super mobile midfielder, you can be just as effective facilitating and providing in a more subdued role. Just gotta put the effort in to make it work. ;)
It's odd because by natural instincts I'm more of a natural direct style player in the sense that I would beat a person and pump the ball into the box, or try to make something happen. But, as of the past two years, I've found myself more cultured to the simple game, I just find that being able to pass and move, forcing other players to bend to the will of the space I'm exploiting as relaxing. Like I can figuratively feel the pressure of the game, and experience the release of that pressure when I recycle the ball.

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Re: To simple pass, or not TOO simple pass, that is the ques

Post by scottS4 » 14 Dec 2012, 00:57

I prefer possession, all day any day. I'm pretty similar to how you say you've been playing recently. Despite being a right winger, most of my passes are short, with many even going backwards, towards my right back or defensive mid. Bringing simplicity and composure to a game thats gotten out of hand with long balls and constant losses of possession is one of my favourite things to do, and probably one of my best assets as a player.
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panchester07
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Re: To simple pass, or not TOO simple pass, that is the ques

Post by panchester07 » 14 Dec 2012, 16:57

in footy i find that having a basic plan of play is not good because it can clutter or fireback, but a few guidelines like you have are good Zlatan5

my 2 cents if you'd play all over you have to know the particular skill your best at, if you're a winger you are a winger and if you're a center mid you're a center mid. are you more like xavi, or more like Ashley young, in body type, speed, running way, all that sh*t...

Too simple is good only when there high pressure, when theres lower pressure you might wana dribble the ball into space a few yards to make more damage the defense and maybe try a ittle more vertical or at least riskier pass, none the less it should be short and concise and you sshould get rid of the ball and already be asking for it again... in the field its all quick but you can analyze in fractions of second which the best option is...

for me its pretty black and white..

Tecnically a pass to the back can be a glorious luxurious unexpected assist, so to be honest passing back is a very realtive turn, you need to sharpen that sense in you which automatically acknowledges the best decision and makes it, and you can only do that through playing hundreds of matches and watching videos and games...

to be fair many times a good short pass if done quick can never be bad... its something only you know the answer because you know yourself, your style what gives you pleasure on the field and what you can do better than anybody.. haters say Barcelona is horizontal boring posesion, first this is not true, and second Barcelona is a good team to look at if you need help with this type of sh*t. Even though they play 800 passes per game they aren't safe passes, in fact the safest thing would be to blast the ball out of there, and they don't do that, watch how Alba receives and touches quickly to pique in his side maybe even behind him, then sprints up to be more available and open the field, they don't really make the safe pass, they don't really make the stupid long ball pass that isn't good either, they make the right pass in the quickest amount of time and already are energetically giving options to their teammates, this is the right way,so do this in every team you go and the game will revolve around you. hear that sh*t, they say the hardest thing to do is to play it simple

like the law of gravity this is the law of creating space :):)
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Re: To simple pass, or not TOO simple pass, that is the ques

Post by KoNJa04 » 18 Dec 2012, 03:51

Zlatan, i can totally relate!

I started playing NAIA soccer this year, and before this year i have played pretty much every role except that "engine" role, the CDM, the one who is always a way out. It took me awhile to get used to and to be honest im not fully used to it. I am more of a deep lying defensive one, the type of guy that goes hard into tackles, but knows how to block a gap at the same time. I'm trying to change that at the moment, as now want to not only defend but also help in the attack. I like CDM like that, the guys like Xabi Alonso or Essien, i mean nothing wrong with the sitters like Busquets, but i want to help contribute a bit.

anyways to answer your question, i prefer the box-to-box player, someone who is literary everywhere to help everyone out.

as for your second problem I prefer both, I play long diagonals balls if it is on, if not i just play short... gotta learn both in that position.
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Zlatan5
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Re: To simple pass, or not TOO simple pass, that is the ques

Post by Zlatan5 » 18 Dec 2012, 06:01

I've always found it much easier to go Box-to-box considering the pace I have and required on the wings, as well as the stamina. But, I've really embraced the deep playmaker role, my view is that as long as I'm not losing the ball cheaply, I'm happy. But the biggest problem I face, beyond teammates getting frustrated when I recycle the ball instead of playing a forward ball, is temptations- the temptation to drive the ball forward on a lung busting run and playing the hollywood pass. Simple fix, yet the hardest to fix- mentality and discipline. More or less I tend to model my midfield game on Joe Allen and Xavi when he's just recycling the ball.

I just receive the ball into space hopefully, peep up to look for a teammate with open space around him, and sling it to them...I tend to try to play them balls that will benefit their positioning (they look like bad passes, but I'm trying to force them to go that way to help open space and see space). If I am under pressure, I just cut the ball back into space that I SHOULD know I have and run through my checklist of passes I can make to open up space for the team.

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Re: To simple pass, or not TOO simple pass, that is the ques

Post by Rome_Leader » 28 Dec 2012, 16:26

It's always good to have a progression. Knowing who your first, second and third options are in every situation. That's why I put great effort myself into having my head on a swivel while I'm off the ball. If pressure comes, I always know the general area of at least two or three teammates I can off-load to. Glad to hear you do the same. :)
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Re: To simple pass, or not TOO simple pass, that is the ques

Post by klc123 » 30 Dec 2012, 04:42

It really depends on how your team plays. If you are in a good team where everyone is doing the same thing, relatively, then playing simple is the best way to play. When you see xavi recycling the ball over and over again he isn't doing it purely for fun, he is keeping possession with a numbers game.

The way barca play is they use possession firstly to prevent the opposition from scoring, and secondly to make the opposition work more than them. This is why even teams that start off defending fantastic are often crumbling after the hour mark. Think of bull fighting. The matador doesn't go for the killer blow in the first minute, he tires the bull and grinds it down. When it is weak, he finishes it off. Barca follow the exact game plan, keep possession in relatively easy parts of the pitch, then when the team gets weak it's like the players smell blood and up the pressure. The speed of the passing and movement increases and they move the ball up the pitch into more dangerous areas, pulling and stretching the defence out of place. All the while the pressure is becoming overwhelming as the opposition gets increasingly tired. That is when players like xavi and iniesta begin to take chances with their passing. A defence splitting pass that may only come off 50% of the time is now much more useable than it was at the beginning of the match, and ironicly it doesn't matter as much about the risk now, because often the opposition is too tired to do anything once they get the ball, and barca take it straight back again.

One of the things that infuriates me about British football fans is their complete disregard of this side of the game, as it is arguably the most important. I remember watching arsenal vs barca with my arsenal friends in London. Barca were dominating possession and moving the ball around as if it took no effort at all. Just keeping the ball away from the opposition, tiring them. At the end of about 5 minutes of possession passing, xavi went for a peircing pass and it didn't come off. To my utter amazement, my friends began to jeer and laugh, because the 5 minutes of passing hasn't resulted in anything. They couldn't see the bigger picture. Their analysis was that barca were keeping the ball but that possession is nothing without goals. To an extent this is true, but few teams have beaten Barcelona, and I can only recall inter Milan doing so when barca were playing their trademark possession game at its greatest (which was due to a feat of tactical genius on mourinho.) Sure enough barca went on to walk arsenal off the pitch. Still my friends couldn't understand. They believed barca had improved in the last 30 minutes and that led to them scoring multiple goals, and that if they played like that from the outset it would have been a rout. To this day I have only ever heard worse game analysis from the likes of Gary Neville. They just didn't understand that barca could waltz through the arsenal defence at the end of the game due to the fact that they had done all the hard work grinding them down for the first hour.

Long story short is, football is much more complex than playing simple and complicated. In the same way you say you can feel the pressure, you need to feel the pressure the opposition is feeling. So often when people talk about "reading the game" people assume this means knowing where to run to receive the ball. It is much more than that, reading the game is like being the orchestrator for your team, sensing when the other team is faltering later in the game and then capitalising on that. Sorry for such a long post, and going off on a tangent.

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Re: To simple pass, or not TOO simple pass, that is the ques

Post by heiky0711 » 24 Jan 2013, 09:53

Hello Zlatan5, firstly thank you for the post. So to answer your question is "it depends"

Reflecting on the posts above me states mostly about the complexity of the game and how situation changes.

Therefore, i would suggest first, understand your team-mates through their behaviour, movements, the kind of passes of each of your team-mate and so on.

This may take quite a while. But the result is you would blend into the team and form the right chemistry.

Second, observe and understand your opponents. Then you would be able to know when to simple pass or to exploit the more difficult pass.

Being in your position, midfield. Generally means you have to keep the ball moving just like an engine of a car. As Xavi said in an interview before the Champions League final 2010

Pass when there is a space

Hope that helps :D
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