While footballers love to go forward and attack their opponents.
There are times when soccer players need to pass backwards.
For someone like yourself who likely watches football, you may have picked up on this and wondered why players do that.
As not only does it have an impact on the game.
But when you look at other sports like American football, the ball never goes backwards and always forward.
Now there is 5 main reasons why soccer players pass backwards in a match, and in this post, I am going to take you through each of them.
1. To Not Lose The Ball
The first reason is quite simple: to not lose the ball.
While a team will want to go forward and create chances to score, it will not be the best option all the time.
As if an opposing team is doing a good job of marking a team’s players, then there may not be options to pass it forward.
In fact, if that is the case, then passing forward could be risky, as a player could end up giving the ball to the other team.
When it comes to football, keeping the ball is quite key as overturning the ball in some situations can lead to the other team creating goal-scoring opportunities.
I’m sure if you have seen a game on TV or even a highlight reel, you’ve probably seen a play where a team has given the ball away and then conceded straight away.
So while players will want to move the ball forward, if there isn’t anything on and no players are available then going backwards and keeping the ball moving is likely the best option.
2. To Build From The Back
We are seeing a lot more football teams building right from the back nowadays.
This means teams will play the ball around their defense and even to their goalkeepers.
While this can bring pressure on a team if opposing players are pressing hard, it can create space for a team if executed well.
A good example would be Manchester City which has a squad of players who are all confident with the ball, including the keeper.
They will always play out the back and invite the opponents onto them.
This creates space and helps Manchester City build-up attacks right from the back that can lead to goals because the opponents have committed players upfield.
3. To Slow The Game Down
In some periods of a football match, it can become quite open and attacking.
You will have one team going forward, maybe losing the ball and then the other team going straight at them on the counter attack.
While this is typically great to watch for a fan, has its exciting.
For the players, it can get quite tiring if the tempo keeps up for long spells.
As they are constantly running up and down the pitch.
So what a team will do if the game has been quite a high tempo, is slow it down by passing the ball backward.
This does a few things:
- It helps a team to get a breather
- Regain shape and regroup
This will need to happen after a spell of constant attacking football.
Since an end-to-end game can’t be kept up for 90 minutes unless players have ridiculous energy levels.
4. High Stakes On The Game
When there is a lot on the line, then this is a time when footballers will pass backward more than going forwards.
The reason for this is simple, and that is they don’t want to force the ball forwards when so much is riding on the game.
Its because of this that cup finals especially tend to either be really cagey or an open affair.
However, if a goal is scored in a game where stakes are high, then it changes everything.
Has the team that is losing will start passing forward more than backward due to them needing to chase the game.
5. Happy With Current Result
If a team is winning then they will pass backwards because they are happy with the current result.
You will get teams that will still attack even though they don’t need to score anymore to get the outcome they want.
However, for most teams, that are winning, they will choose to pass backward more than forwards.
This is mainly because there is no reason to force any ball forward.
As doing so could give the opponents a chance to score, if they win the ball back.
So you will find that the closer to the end of the game if a team is happy with the result, they will play quite conservatively.
Meaning they will pass backward to keep the ball away from the other team and also kill some of the clock.