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Understanding Soccer's Three Basic Passes

There are three basic passes in the game of soccer — forward, square, and back.

The forward pass is the most aggressive and most risky of all three because the attacking team moves the ball toward the goal. The length of the pass, the spot from where you attempt it, and the skills of the passer and receiver can all increase your chances of the pass being intercepted.

A square pass is a relatively safe pass. Attempt this pass when you're trying to get out of a difficult situation — for example, two opponents are gearing in on you. In this case, you need to give the ball to a teammate who is open or to a better ballhandler.

The back pass is the most conservative of all passes. Use this pass to get out of a tough defensive situation — for example, when you have little or no room to pass the ball forward or you need to give your team an opportunity to regroup. If you're not careful, however, you can run into problems. When passing to a goalkeeper or another teammate, you need to remember where the enemy is because the opposition can run out of nowhere and steal or intercept the pass.

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Many back passes have been transformed into goals — as in the player scoring into his own net. (This is probably the most embarrassing of all plays in soccer.) You can solve most potential back pass and own-goal problems with proper communication and positioning, although the luck factor is always involved as well.

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