This is a very simple drill which combines long distance passing and receiving with the use of bending runs. It is also a good conditioning drill.
Setup: Three players, one ball, four cones, grid size approximately 20 yards by 60 yards.
Using four cones set up a grid 20 yards x 60 yards. Each cone will be in the centre of a side of the grid – forming a diamond shape pattern.
Start: Two players are at one end of grid on a cone. Player 1 takes off on a bending run (j-shaped) around the cone on one side. He calls for the ball and Player 2 passes the ball at or in front of the cone. Player 1 receives the football and with one touch knocks it to Player 3 who is waiting at the far cone. Player 3 receives the ball and drops it near the cone and takes off on his bending run around the cone to his right. Player 2 takes the ball and upon the request (call for the ball) by Player 3, plays it at the cone Player 3 is running around (with a bending run). Player 3 receives the ball and with one touch knocks it to Player 2 who is waiting at the cone where the drill began. Player 2 receives the ball and drops it near the cone and takes off on his bending run around the cone to his right. The drill continues in that manner.
Alternatives: Run the drill both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Start the drill by requiring the players play the ball on the ground. Once they get the hang have them play the ball in the air. At the beginning of the drill have the players making the bending run “call” for the ball. Later, require that they communicate non-verbally.
Balls must have proper pace. The player receiving the ball must not have to slow down to receive the ball.
Pay attention that proper technique is used by the player making the pass. Hips must be “aimed” in the direction of the pass. Follow-through must be in the direction of the pass. Accuracy is more important than power – at least at the beginning.
Player must make a bending run so that he can see the passer within three to five steps after beginning his run. If he cannot see the passer he’s not bending his run enough. This is important because the passer may be under pressure from the defence and may have to release the pass earlier than the receiving player is expecting it. A good bending run allows the receiver to see the passer as much as possible during his run and the passer to hit the pass to the players feet without hitting his heels.