Magic Diamond Passing Drill – Dramatically Improves Players Technical Skill

The “Magic Diamond Passing Drill” is taken from Coach Dave Brandt and his DVD, Game Action Soccer Drills for Technical Ability.  It is a drill that can be done at any age and is easy to set up and implement.

Set Up: The set up is very simple.  You need an area that is 20 yards by 20 yards and six cones.  Place two cones 20 yards apart and line up 2-3 players behind each cone.   Next, place two cones three yards apart to form a gate in the middle of your box on the far outer edges.

Set up as many 20 x 20 boxes as you need in order to give all the players as many touches as possible.  The fewer players in each line, the more of a conditioning drill this becomes.

Objective: The objective of the drill is to improve ball handling speed – the time it takes from the player’s first touch to the second touch, as well as ball speed and accuracy.  There are also dribbling components to the drill.

Players:  Have all your players do this drill, even your goal keepers.

Coaches:  It’s good to have a coach watching each box so you can monitor and teach the technical aspect of the drill, as well as ensure that the players are going at game speed.

Diagrams:  Let’s look at the five progression stages to the Magic Diamond Passing Drill:

Step 1:  Technical Passing

Divide your team into two lines of 2-3 each and duplicate the Magic Diamond in other 20 x 20 boxes so your players get maximum touches.  The first phase of the drill is to have your players pass the ball to the player opposite them, control with a quick touch, and pass the ball back to the opposite cone with good ball speed.  Players then go to the end of the opposite line.


Step 2:  Dribble-Split

Now have the players on one side receive the pass and make a quick dribble through the gate.  They can go through either gate.  When they dribble through the gate they make a quick, accurate pass to the player in the opposite line, who then takes a controlling touch and passes with the same foot back through the two cones, just as he did in the first stage of this progression drill. Players then go to the end of the opposite line.


Step 3:  Dribble Through the Gate

Now have the players on one side receive the pass and make a quick dribble through the gate.  They would go in a clockwise direction and then switch to counter clockwise.  When they dribble through the gate they make a quick, accurate pass to the player in the opposite line, who then takes a controlling touch and dribbles through the opposite gate.

Make sure players are working at top speed, but under control.  Work on tight touches.

Players then go to the end of the opposite line.


Step 4:  Dribble 3 Touch

Now have the players on one side receive the pass and make a quick dribble through the gate.  They can go through either gate.  When they dribble through the gate they make a quick, accurate pass to the player in the opposite line, who then takes a controlling touch and dribbles through the opposite gate.

The progression between this and the last drill, is they only have 3 touches with their laces.  You can then have them use only the outside of the foot.

Make sure they do half the drill working on their left foot.

Make sure players are working at top speed, but under control.  Work on tight touches.

Players then go to the end of the opposite line.


Step 5:  3 Touch Total

Finally, give your players just three total touches to complete the Magic Diamond.  They will want their first touch a little wider and more directed at an angle to the gate.  The second touch is an explosive dribble through the gate.  And the final touch is a pass to the feet of their teammate in the opposite line.

Make sure they do half the drill working on their left foot.

Make sure players are working at top speed, but under control.


If you would like to see this drill coached live by David Brandt, please check out his DVD, Game Action Soccer Drills For Technical Ability. There are several more great technical drills on the DVD that you can implement so your team dramatically improves your passing, receiving, and dribbling technical skills.

11 Responses to Magic Diamond Passing Drill – Dramatically Improves Players Technical Skill

  1. Luís Francisco Bernardo Vaz June 9, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    Excuse I dont know so very well the english. I am learning with your emails. You allow me wrigth in portuguese?
    I am from Angola.
    Preciso imenso de receber os vossos materiais. eu não sou treinador de nenhum clube
    mas preciso aperfeiçoar os meus conhecimentos sobre treianmento de futebol.Já solicitei várias vezes como posso pagar ou receber os vossos materiais tais como DVDs, livros etc.
    Tenho outra dificuldade para acessar a internet, tenho que recorrer a outros. pretendo adquirir brevemente o meu computador então serei mais livre a contatálos.
    Conto sempre com a vossa ajuda muito obrigado.

    Very thanks
    Best regards(é assim?)

    Luis Francisco

  2. Mark Carter June 9, 2010 at 12:53 am #

    “Dramatically improves player skill”? Really? I would question whether that is really teaching skill at all.

    The difference between technique and skill is that skill requires an element of game-related decision-making. Skill is about where and when to use a technique. Your drill improves technique. If we teach solely technique with no skill aspect we are in danger of producing players who may be very good with a ball, but lack confidence to display these techniques in games and often make poor decisions.

    In order to teach skill I would suggest a progression where the player passing the ball then comes in to be a defender – and the player recieving the ball needs a quick touch/dribble either left or right (or pretend to go one way then go the other) in order to get past the defender and make a pass. We would then be using the techniques of recieving-drbbling-passing in a game-related situation – and it is much easier for the learning in this activity to be transferred to a real game.

  3. Joe June 9, 2010 at 5:28 am #

    Be careful, Mark. If you’re going to start nitpicking people, you should get your terminology correct. You are actually referring to “tactical” SKILLS in your progression. This article is referring to “technical” SKILLS. Just two different types of skills. The article even mentions that it’s technical skills in the first few sentences.

    And yes, it will dramatically improve your players when applied to the right age/skill level.

    Your point about transferring skills to a game is right on. You definitely need to practice tactical skills. And your progression is great.

  4. Doug June 9, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Mark, thanks for your input. I run Dave Brandt’s Magic Diamond just after warm ups. It is great for simulating game speed without pressure. So you are right, it works on the technical aspect, not the decision making (tactical) aspect of the player’s game. I then will continue the progression with a 3 v 1 drill that starts applying some pressure, and then move to a grid where players go 2 v 1, 3 v 2, and even 4 v 3 where players now have to control the ball and make firm passes to their offensive teammate. Those drills combine the technical and tactical skills that you are referring to. For the newsletter, I didn’t go as deeply into the practice as you may have liked but I was hoping coaches would now have a good technical drill to start their practices off on a good note. Thanks! Doug

  5. lawal sulaimon June 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    Just don’t know how to thank you people for doing a good job by giving me an avenue to improve by making use of your e-books .

  6. Dan June 14, 2010 at 3:49 am #

    The exercises are very well explained and the picture is clear.

  7. anupam June 27, 2010 at 12:45 am #

    Thank you good job by giving me technical skill drill

  8. Michael July 1, 2010 at 5:46 am #

    Thank you for these new drills i think they help players with the basic skills and i think they will interest players as well

  9. bill pittman July 10, 2010 at 3:16 am #

    hav enjoyed using your drills in our training sessions.Well done at the world cup.

  10. Tija August 2, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    What about adding pressure with a time component – say 3,2,1 “your outta there” if they have not gotten through the gate and passed in time?
    I like this concept, thank you, will be trying it in a couple of hours with my U9 girls!

  11. Doug August 4, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    Tija, I think adding a timed component is a great idea. It adds some pressure to peform at more game speeds. With U9, just be realistic about how long it will take them to complete the drill. With my better players at that age level, I will sometimes put some time constraints on them, while with some other players who are not as skilled, allowing them to just concentrate on the technical aspects of the drill with adding a timed pressure component. Thanks! Doug

Leave a Reply