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Where is the Space? Part 3: Parallel vs Diagonal

Updated: Aug 11, 2019

Part 3: Parallel vs Diagonal: Enhancing Connection Capabilities

Note: Before you read this article, if you have not already done so, please read our articles regarding “The Parallel” and “The Diagonal” and watch the corresponding videos (Part 1 and Part 2 of “Where is the Space?”).


As you have (hopefully) watched in our videos and read in our articles, The Parallel and The Diagonal can provide options for connections often not expected by the defenders.

They are the most known movements of Futsal, and each of these connections on their own can be an important tool on the soccer field.

However, when you put both of them together, you will be working on much more than just “their sum.” Together, they will provide players with important ways to read and create spaces, not just vertically, but also laterally (or horizontally, if you prefer).


As discussed in our previous articles, when played with organized defensive strategies, the environment of Futsal itself “forces” players to look for solutions beyond balls behind the defenders.

Sideways movements and countermovements are important tools to unbalance the other team’s defenses.

The Diagonal Ball focuses on the ball being played in front of or behind the defender defending the pass.

The Parallel Ball focuses on the ball being played inside or outside of the defender pressuring the player with the ball.

Let’s take a look at a few passing options, including use of the Parallel and the Diagonal, in a 2v2 scenario:

Figure 1: Passes according to the defenders’ positions (from the book “Soccer Powered by Futsal”)

01: Parallel Pass: outside of the defender pressuring the ball

02: Through Ball or 1-2: behind the defenders

03: Diagonal Ball: a penetrating pass generally made in front of a defender

04: Feet: a pass to maintain possession

For the players passing the ball, it is very important to be intentional on the pass, deciding which one of the options is available. Unfortunately, often we see attempts that are “something in between” these options, and the connection fails.

For the player receiving the pass, it is equally important to realize where space is and move accordingly. Sometimes, it means a change in the of direction of the run.

Let’s look at a few examples that combine The Parallel and The Diagonal:


Figure 2: Player (02) starts moving to the right, but makes a quick change of direction in order to receive the parallel ball.

Figure 3: Player (02) starts a run diagonally to the left (possibly for a parallel ball) and changes direction in order to receive a diagonal ball.

Figure 4: Player (01) realizes that Player (A) moved to try to block a pass to Player (02) and makes a counter movement in order to beat Player (A) and advance with the ball.

Figure 5: This diagram is basically the opposite of Figure 4 in terms of sides.

Putting the above options together on the soccer field, we would have something like this:

Figure 6: This figure shows how there are multiple options for Player (1) to connect with Player (2) based upon side movements of the Parallel and the Diagonal. If Player (1) realizes that the player pressuring the ball is moving to close a pass, Player (1) may choose to make a counter movement and advance with the ball.

Figures 1-5 showed a few of the options that can be created with the Parallel and Diagonal, considering them opposing movements in terms of “side.” Please watch this video in order to see all of this in motion:


We all want players to be able to read the field, connect and be creative. But, unless we present and work with them on connections that demand these capacities, we may not achieve the desired outcomes.

Don’t think about teaching The Parallel and The Diagonal as two specific movements, but as a way to develop a player’s capacities to look at each other and realize combined actions. Think of them as ways to develop a variety of good habits, including runs before the pass, change of direction during the runs, awareness of defenders and teammates movements, passes with accuracy, and specific purposes and abilities to consider a variety of options.

The reality of the game can present an infinity of scenarios and variations. The players with more “tools in their bag” and a better reading of the game are the ones who will succeed. The Diagonal and The Parallel, as well as any mix or variations between them, are a few of the tools that Futsal can help players perceive and develop. These can be added to more traditional soccer movements (for example 1-2, through balls and passes to feet).

While The Parallel and The Diagonal are known in Futsal, they don’t really “belong” to Futsal or soccer. They are the result of logic from team sports games with invasion (where a team can enter the other team’s field). Futsal demands made these movements an important part of the sport, but the logic of these movements can be used in other sports as well.


It is important to consider that teaching movements is a start, but in order for players to apply these movements with success on the soccer field, they need a competitive environment of training where they will be applying the concepts. Futsal with the right strategies and methodology can be a great vehicle for this.

In a different article, we will show how Futsal rotations, with a variety of overlaps and exchanges of positions, can create the perfect environment for players to develop qualities related to reading of the game and mastering a variety of movements off ball.

I hope you can build upon the ideas presented to you in this set of articles and videos (“Where is the Space?”) to help develop your players. Watch out for our upcoming videos and articles on a variety of related subjects.

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