Rugby: Flick and Back Pass Insanity

Great site and excellent drills. Easy to understand and apply in training....
Tyrone, Rugby Coach


Now split your players into two teams, giving one group of players a set of colored bibs to set them apart, and quickly tell your players the following laws:

  • No forward passes.
  • All passes need to be flicks or back passes with one hand.
  • When touched, stop and set the ball down.
  • The pass off the ground must also be a flick or one handed back pass.
  • Another player from your team will act as scrum half - passing the ball to his teammates, who will continue the attack.
  • Each team will be allowed five touches before they must turn the ball over (you can make this more or less depending on the skill level of your players and what you're hoping to achieve during the session.) Some coaches decide on unlimited touches, only turning the ball over when a mistake is made by the attack e.g. a knock on.
  • Knock on's and other law infringements will result in a turn over to the opposition.
  • Don't be afraid to play these laws a little, e.g. for younger players you might even go as far as to allow some knock on's or turn a blind eye to the odd forward pass - let them play a little and have fun!


I think you should focus on just a few coaching points at any one time, and that targets should be agreed with your players depending on their age and ability. That said, the following are some points that you might like to refer to:

  • Keep the laws simple and get the players going as soon as you can, no standing around and no debates - it's rugby not the debating society.
  • What do we attack? Space - What do we attack it at? Speed! Encourage the players to identify space, possibly with very quick stops where players are asked to freeze on the whistle blast - where is the space? Restart right away, no long debates.
  • You might allow your scrum halves to be the players moving the ball after each touch, maybe even giving them a target time in which the ball has to be moved - this speeds the game up.
  • With older players do not waste this opportunity to identify that the ball cannot be turned over following the touch - so what is our defensive formation following a tackle where the ball cannot be turned over? Do we contest everything?
  • Think about having more than one game going at a time, if numbers and space allow.
  • Players will need to change the way they attack and think about the game because of the passing restrictions.
  • Players should be creative with respect to their attack, including loops, switches etc.
  • Players need to pass off both hands.

Be creative - a great coach (and that's you) will be able to use their warm-up as a spring-board to the core of the session - and will start coaching from the very start of the session!



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