Rugby: Short Passing

Sportplan rugby has played a large role in my team's love for the...
Heather, Rugby Coach


  • Give each training area one ball to start with and tell the players the following......
  1. Lets just get the ball moving down the line. Give the player at the start of one of the lines a ball, tell the line to advance using lateral passing - with the last player in each line passing the ball to the first player in the opposite line.
  2. Players should change positions in the line following each attack.
  3. Focus on the coaching points - the drill is only a means to an end. No spin passing.
  4. When you feel that the players are executing the short pass to your satisfaction - add in more pressure by have two opposite lines run at once.


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.

    • Players should work to keep the tempo of the session high.
    • Receivers hands should be out, presenting a target.
    • Ball carriers carry the ball in two hands.
    • The pass is weighted in terms of distance, speed, and accuracy.
    • The pass is only complete when caught.
    • Players do not spin the ball over short distances and their pass should be sympathetic to the receiver.
    • Ball carriers pass to where the receiver is going to be, not where they are.
    • Ball carriers provide a flat ball or a ball that the receiver can run onto.
    • The receiver attacks at pace, receiving the ball while moving forward at pace.
    • Players demonstrate good communication . Communication should be efficient, effective, and encouraging. Receivers should identify themselves, their location etc. Ball carriers should verbally seek out support.
    • Mistakes will be made, allow your players the freedom to make mistakes without feeling a failure.
    • Passing should be off both hands. There is no weak or strong hand, just hands that need a little more work. Work is the key, not talent.
    • The attack must maintain width and depth.
    • The ball should be held on either side with both hands and fingers spread, raise the elbow opposite to the direction of the pass, push through the pass moving the point of the ball to face the target passing area - using the wrists to generate more power when needed, pass the ball with the fingers/hands finishing at a point towards the target. You may ask younger player to finish with a thumbs up to the reciever - ensureing their hands finish facing the target.
    • Be careful not to give the players too much to think about e.g. if they are worrying about foot position etc - it may impact on their ability to - just pass the ball. With respect to foot position, the opposite foot to the direction of the pass should be forward (this opens up the hips) - but this won't always be possible in the game.
    • As this point we don't want to spin the ball.



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