What is a “Give and Go” in Soccer? – Easy to Understand

There are many key plays that can help a soccer team look better on the field. Most of these plays require a lot of practice and communication amount players. Passing and movement without the ball are the critical components to execute a play during a game.

One important play is a “give and go”. This move requires two players; where one player passes the ball and moves to another position on the field where he expects to get the ball back. I will go into details about what it means to complete a “give and go” and will explain what you need to consider doing it right!

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Diagram and Visual Representation

In the following diagram, you will see how a “give and go” can occur on the field. This play is typically completely between fullback and midfielder, winger and midfielder, midfielder and forward, or even forward and forward.

Automatic Communication

When it comes to a give and go, players should know exactly what is going on and what is about to happen. This is talked before the game and during practice; I emphasize a lot about “communication” in most of my articles because it is key to successfully complete certain plays during the game.

“Automatic Communication” is my own term and I refer to verbal or non-verbal communication that MUST occur at all times. Remember that soccer is a team sport and, as in any team or group, members need to communicate with one another so that everyone is on the same page. How can we expect to complete a “give and go” without planning it? It just doesn’t work that way. So, make sure you talk to your friends and plan ahead!

Movement Without the Ball

The player making the first pass is responsible for moving after the ball is passed. Usually this player should make a signal to indicate where he is going and where he wants the ball. A simple “hey” or “back here” or “through ball” can set up the “give and go”.

This movement without the ball has a “domino effect”. The opponent team’s defenders now have to make decisions, whether to follow the player making the run or stay with the player that has the ball. This confusion will lead to OPTIONS for the player that has the ball. The ball doesn’t necessarily have to go to the player making the run; it can go to another player that is now FREE because a defender went after the player making the run.

I would definitely recommend coaches to practice this a lot with players because “movement without the ball” is critical to have a team that can create spaces and opportunities from different parts of the field.

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Pass into the Space

This is the most critical part of a “give and go” because without a precise pass, the play cannot be completed. Things you need to consider when passing the ball into the space include:

  • Where is your teammate moving to? – Make sure you know where he is going.
  • How fast is your teammate running? – Don’t slow him down, play “into the space” NOT “square.
  • Where are the opponents/defenders? – Your pass has to go AWAY from the defenders
  • Power on the pass – Be aware of the field condition (high grass, turf, natural-low grass, wet grass)

There is no doubt that “passing the ball into the space” will lead to great opportunities to score and the team will look great.

Watch and Learn! – This Can Never Go Wrong.

If you are familiar with my articles, you know that my recommendations never skip WATCHING SOCCER. Learn about “give and go” plays from professional soccer players. On the next soccer match that you watch, see if you can identify when a Give and Go takes place and see if you can identify the concepts explained in this article.

No matter what level you play at, when you have the basics about this important play, you will improve your performance. Remember to communicate with your teammates in order to show off your new skills!!

9 thoughts on “What is a “Give and Go” in Soccer? – Easy to Understand

  1. I’ve seen this one a few times, of course I didnt know the name of it. But I’m glad to know the term. 

    I like how cooperative this sport is, you have to constantly pass the ball and thats the name of the game,

    and honestly, The visual representations are very helpful, or else I definitely wouldnt understand what you were talking about.

  2. Now this explanation makes more sense to me finally! My high school teacher tried to teach us by using the give and go almost like an algebra equation. Talk about a bunch of confused kids. Your explanation also makes watching this great game more interesting. Can you have more than two players in the give and go at the same time in order to more confuse the oppenant?

  3. another great article! the one-two pass is key in unlocking any defence and works very well when the strikers are in sync. right now teams like Man City and Barcelona show how a 1-2 pass should work. For basketball fans think – Karl Malone & John Stockton from Utah Jazz from the 00’s.

    I believe all players should practice this especially if they play on the same side of the pitch – like Left back & left midfield or left mid-field and left striker.

    this is a great way to start a counter-attack as it gets the attackers moving more quickly and catching the defenders on the back foot. As a midfield player myself, I have used this to great effect!

  4. Love this article!  This topic happens to be very near and dear to my heart.  Being the soccer mom of not 1, but 2 soccer stars, I can appreciate the communicating between players that is necessary for plays to work.  Watching soccer is a constant in our house 😉  Thank goodness we all love the sport! Lol  

    Ahhh…the Give and Go…it is so pretty when it works 🙂  The ease and grace of a well oiled machine is the result of going through the same drills over and over and over again… That’s when all of their hard work pays off baby 😉  It is definitely a sight to see!!!

  5. Soccer is a sport I wish I would’ve gotten more into during my younger years (though it’s never too late to try!). I’ve always wondered about the different plays and moves that’s involved in soccer and after reading about what a give and go is, I now have a little bit of a better understanding of some of the key plays in soccer. It is quite interesting that automatic communication is a big part of the sport, but it makes sense because everyone needs to be on the same page. If there’s a miscommunication, things can definitely go wrong. I really like the diagram you provided so I can see a visual representation of the give and go. Was this a play you used a lot in soccer?

  6. Hi Victor:

    Although I’ve never been a fan of organized sports, the one that fascinates me is soccer. I really believe that’s because of its constant movement and consistent team work.

    You have given me a way to make sense of the game by reading your post. Prior to this, I didn’t really know what was going on.

    Thank you for explaining the various strategies and elements of “Give and Go.”

  7. Hi there Victor!

    Great article. Though I’m not a soccer player, your article brought me into a play as if I’m in a soccer field trying to execute the “give and go”, “movement without the ball’ and “pass into the space” plays while following the diagram.

    Also, your article made me realized that playing soccer isn’t just a physical game alone but especially a mind game which should always be coupled by an “automatic communication”, good team play, great plan, strategy and decision making that should be done so quickly otherwise, you’ll miss the opportunity to score.

    Indeed a great game as you can relate this to life – you can’t really have that success you’re aiming for if you don’t communicate, don’t have a plan, strategy and the ability to decide quickly as “opportunity only knocks once” as what the adage says. 

    Thanks for sharing your game!

    Be safe!


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