Rugby: Serious Fun

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


  • Tell your players the following, keeping your player briefing, brief! It's vital to get the players moving as quickly as possible.
  1. Each of the three cones should have one player.
  2. The player in the middle will have a ball, and one of the two other players will have a ball.
  3. The player in the middle has to throw their ball up in the air (vertical), catch the ball being passed from the other ball carrier, and then forward the passed ball onto the other player in the group, before catching the ball that they just threw up into the air.
  4. Once that is done, they do the same again - this time the lateral pass will come from the opposite direction.
  5. This is repeated, the tempo increasing as the players get more comfortable handling the two balls they must keep in play.
  6. Change the position of each player in the group; there can be a competition between the players to find out who can do the most without dropping any of the balls, or giving a poor quality pass.
  7. Have fun with this, but don't forget that there are great lessons to be learned here, many of which are noted in the coaching points.


Don't feel that you have to focus on all of the following coaching points, you may have your own. Select the points that most closely match your overall training and session goals.

  • Keep the tempo of this exercise high, but only after the players have been able to succeed at a lower tempo. There is no point in moving fast and making too many mistakes without players experiencing success.
  • Good communication is vital to define roles, position, expectations, direction of the pass, the type of the pass, the timing of the pass etc.
  • Communication should be efficient, effective, and encouraging.
  • Mistakes will happen, while we work to minimize mistakes - don't over focus on them! If you do, your players may well magnify their own mistakes. What's important is the next pass, the next catch! You as a coach have to give the players the freedom to make mistakes, you also have the responsibility for helping players adjust their passing style and decision making etc. to minimize the possibility that the pass will not go astray.
  • Let the players have fun, they can learn while playing!
  • Passes need to be weighted correctly in terms of speed, distance, and accuracy.
  • Receivers have their hands out, saving time and presenting a target.
  • Receivers catch the ball at a point, which minimizes any maneuvering they might have to do in order to have the ball at the best possible passing position in hand.
  • Players do not spin the ball when there is no need.
  • A pass is only a good pass when it has been completed, and it is only a completed pass when the receiver catches the ball.
  • The ball should be caught in both hands, at a position that is best suited to move the ball on quickly.
  • Players should aim to keep hands soft, this means that they should grip the ball loosely and handle the ball with fingers spread - passing not firing the ball.
  • Why not get a little rhythm into the exercise with a song or some music. Players should develop a passing rhythm, building muscle memory.
  • Supporting players need to be aware of their need to time their pass.
  • Increasing the distance between the cones may well make the spin pass a possibility/option - but help your players understand why it's an option. The ball will move faster, closing the space between the passer and receiver quickly. But does this comes at a cost?


If you find that some players need more of a challenge, increase the distance between the cones. This will increase the travel time of the ball and will require quicker hands from all players.



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