Several years ago I was in a coaching course and heard a clinician talk about recognition of holes to pass through.  Recently, the topic came up again on a soccer coaches forum I frequent. To be honest, I had forgotten about numerically designating the holes available to either run or pass through in the passing game.  I have always taught the principles involved but never used an associated numerical coaching phrase to communicate what it is I wanted to see. Much as American pointy football has holes to designate gaps between offensive lineman, the same ideas can be applied to some extent in soccer.

First of all, it is important to recognize the game situations when terminology concerning passing / running holes can apply.  There are two basic situations and each uses the terminology bit differently so we will look at this from two different perspectives.

The first designations are used in numbers up situations where 2 or more attackers have isolated a defender.  We cover this in Cues for Combination Passing without using "the hole terminology. 

The one hole is utilized when the run and pass are made to the same side of the isolated defender.

The two hole is utilized when the run is to one side of the isolated defender while the pass is made to the opposite side of the isolated defender.

The second situation when designating holes can be useful is in attacking zonal systems of play.  In this case the holes are designated as follows:

One hole: The gap between the  two center backs
Two hole: The gap between the LCB and the LD
Three hole: The gap between the RCB and the RD
Four hole: The gap between the LD and the left touchline
Five hole: The gap between the RD and the right touchline

In my opinion these designations are best utilized when teaching the cues for combination passing or when teaching the patterns specific to beating a zonal back line.  They can also be used in strategic discussions during final pregame talks or at halftime of matches. During the course of play I believe these designations are  used more as sight "reads" than they are as actual verbal communication.

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