Football passing drill – Killer pass

by Pablo M14th Sep 2021

Drill created with Tactics Manager

A good through-ball pass can create great goal opportunities or simply help your team bypass a line of defence. However, a hurried or unprecise pass can lead to a counterattack. This drill will help your players to improve their precision and execute a killer pass.


This drill is designed for 7 players, making it suitable to use when you have a low turnout to training. You don’t need an actual football pitch for this drill, but you need enough space for the players.   Form two teams, 4 players vs 3 players. If you have more than 7 players, you can increase the number of players per team but maintain numbers superiority in one of the teams. If the number of attendees is multiple of 7 (e.g., 7, 14, 21), split your squad into groups of 7 and run this drill with each group.

In addition to enough space to practice, you will need a ball per group, 4 small goals and enough cones to mark the zones as in the picture above. If you can’t get hold of small goals, use cones.


The square in the centre is your “killer pass zone”. The team with the ball keeps possession until it finds space to pass the ball to a player in the “killer zone”. In addition, the player receiving the ball in the “killer zone” must shoot to one of the goals. The rest of the instructions for this drill are:

  • 2 teams: 4 players keep possession of the ball, and 3 players defend.
  • Players in control of the ball are only allowed 2 touches: control and pass or shot at goal.
  • If a player receives the ball in the killer zone, their team scores 1 point.
  • Nobody can stay more than 3 seconds in the killer zone without having a ball.
  • When a player receives the killer zone, they can shoot at one of the goals. If they score, their team is awarded 3 points.
  • If the ball is recovered by the defending players, their team scores 1 point.
  • A ball is considered recovered when it is controlled. Therefore, simply deflecting the ball or kicking it out of the game is not enough to regain possession.
  • Sliding tackles are not allowed.
  • If a player breaks one of the rules above, a point is awarded to the opposite team.
  • After a set time (e.g., 10 minutes), swap the players role. The players becoming the possession team chose a player from the opposition to join them and keep the 4 vs 3 structure.
  • The team with the highest score wins.

Be creative and add your own rules. But, make sure to maintain the spirit of the drill.


The main objective of this drill is to keep possession of the ball in tight areas. It also encourages intelligent movement and automates passing the ball in triangles. From a defensive point of view, it teaches to press and closing down passing lanes. With the addition of goals, this passing drill becomes more competitive and introduce other skills:

  • Accurate passing. The only way of winning at this game is by players improving their passing technique.
  • First touch. Because the number of allowed touches is restricted, players must improve their first touch to control and pass the ball.
  • Teamwork. This passing drill encourages teamwork over individual efforts. Players have to coordinate their movements to keep possession, move into the killer zone in the right moment, and defend.
  • Positioning. Players have to move on and off the ball to create passing lanes. When defending, players have to position themselves to close passing lanes.
  • Accurate finishing. Because the game is played with small goals, it encourages clinical finish.
  • Patience. Players have to keep circulating the ball to find the killer pass. This requires patience and avoiding rushing a pass.
  • Fitness. This game is physically demanding, particularly for the defending players.

I hope you find this drill helpful. If you like this post, please share it with your friends. If you know other exercises or have any questions, leave a comment below.