Passing technique – Learn from Xavi Hernandez

by Pablo M09th May 2019

Xavi Hernandez, a Barcelona legend, demonstrates his control and passing technique to a group of amateur players. The video is in Spanish but you can get the idea by reading this post.  


You don’t need a football pitch but you need enough space, 3 goalscones to mark the pitch and a good number of balls. Distribute the goals and cones as shown in the picture below and the video at the end of this post. If you don’t have goals or cones, be creative. For example, instead of goals, you can use cones. If you don’t have cones, use stones, sweatshirts, etc.

You can practise this drill with as few as 2 players. You can also have a full squad running the drill, but you don’t want to risk having them waiting in line for too long. You want everyone moving. So, if you have too many players, set up many practice areas. 

Xavi passing drill


The drill goal is to practice ball control and passing technique. The progression of this passing drill is simple:

  • Only two touches allowed: control and pass.
  • Player A passes the ball.
  • Player B control and passes to goal 1.
  • Player A passes the ball.
  • Player B control and passes to goal 2.
  • Player A passes the ball.
  • Player B control and passes to goal 3.
  • Repeat the previous steps, but this time the control is done by passing the ball behind your standing leg (have a look at minute 3:21 in the video). This movement will need good control.
  • Run the drill again, but this time with a player acting as a defender but without tackling. The idea is that players A and B adjust their passing and control according to the position of the defender.

Xavi Tips

  • When passing the ball right or left:
    • Shift your body facing the direction you are planning to pass the ball. This is called “oriented control”.
    • Control the ball with the leg further away from the teammate that passed the ball to you.
    • Hit the ball with the leg closest to the teammate that passed the ball to you.
  • When returning the ball to your teammate, you can use the same leg to control and pass the ball. You can use your stronger leg in this scenario. That way, you don’t waste space nor time trying to turn your body.
  • Never let the ball stop.
  • Control should be always done in movement.
  • Do not receive the ball between your legs. If you do so, you have to shift your body to be able to kick the ball, thus wasting time.
  • The pass should be strong and on the ground.
  • Look at the position of the defender before receiving the ball.
  • When passing the ball, pass it to the empty space to make control easier for your teammate.