Rugby: Relay Passing Race

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


  • With each new instruction to players you'll be having a race, lets see which group is the fastest - no cheating!
  • Don't spend too much time talking, get the players into their groups quickly and tell them to do the following:
  1. Pass the ball between your legs to the person behind you - keep going until the ball reaches the end of the line.
  2. Same thing as above, but this time when the ball reaches the end of the line, the player at the end runs the ball back and the ball starts the same journey again. This is repeating until the every player has run from the back to the front of the line.
  3. Same idea but this time under legs then next person passes over head, next under legs (under/over/under etc.)
  4. Same idea but twist hips to pass to person behind first to the left then to the right - back person runs to front.
  5. As above but just over the head.
  6. Progress this with your own ideas e.g. pass to the person behind you with one hand etc.
  • This warm-up should be full of fun.


You don't have to focus on all of the following coaching points, create your own or pick the ones that are more appropriate to your session.

  • Change teams if one team is always coming last!
  • Two hands on the ball at all times, unless instructed.
  • Four hands on the ball at the moment of the pass.
  • Good communication between the passer and the receiver.
  • Receivers hands are out and ready to take the pass.
  • Players encourage one another, even when mistakes are made.
  • If a ball is dropped, play on, focus on the next pass.
  • There should be a sense of fun, but with a high tempo.
  • Encourage competition.
  • Keep players moving, and encouraging listening skills at all time.
  • Coach on the go, without stopping the activity if possible.


Younger players love having fun with this - so why not have the last player crawl through the legs of all the other players to carry the ball back instead of running, or start the ball at the rear - and have that person crawl through the legs of the other players, getting back in time to receive the last pass. You'll have to have a set of balls at the rear of each line for this - or maybe assistant coaches could keep the balls coming. Why not do this to music?



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Maul Touch

Be brief when telling the players the laws of this game, it's important to get them moving quickly. This is not a contact game, but there will be some light contact. Break your players into two teams, giving each team their own colour of bibs if necessary. One team goes to attack, and one to defence. Nominate a Scrum Half for each team, it will be their job to move the ball from the back of the maul and out to an attacking line. There is no kicking in this game. Normal laws of rugby apply e.g. a forward pass will result in the ball being turned over to the opposition. If an attacking player is touched: they must stop and turn, a maul is then built based on how you have trained your players to Maul. Only four players should be in the maul - but every player should be able to maul - including the backs! When you start playing this game make sure that the defence is employing your defensive pattern around the maul. They will commit 4 players, but will not do anything more than provide light resistance. Once formed the maul can take four steps before moving the ball. If there is a delay in creating the maul, or the quality of the maul is poor - the ball can be turned over. Depending on your goals decide on the number of touches you wish to allow e.g. unlimited is not a bad option as mistakes will be made! If a team has been in possession for a long time, don't forget to turn the ball over to give the opposition a run. Don't hesitate to shape the game to focus on your session goals, and let us and other coaches know what worked for you.

Warm Up

Pressure Ball

Make sure your warm-up area is marked out before the players arrive. Depending on the number of players you have at training, mark out several warm-up grids. The size of your grid is a suggestion, but around 10 meters x 10 meters. The bigger the grid, the easier it is for the attackers - they have more space. The smaller the grid, the easier it is for the defenders. Break your players into two groups, pads and passers. One third of your players will be passers; the rest will be on the pads. Have one team quickly demonstrate the game to the other players. In each grid have four players on pads, and two passers. You could have more passers; I'll leave this to your judgment. The job of the players on the pads is to put pressure on the ball carrier, to surround them and stop them from passing the ball. The players on the pads are also trying to force the passers to make mistakes e.g. drop the ball, throw a bad pass etc. The passers have to move the ball around the grid, avoiding the pads. Passers can pass the ball in any direction. Players on the pads should have a little fun, and within reason push the passers around a little. You can award points for each successful pass, and points to the defending team on the pads for every occasion when a ball carrier is surrounded or the ball carriers make a mistake. Don't forget to change the players around, and to give players on the pads a go at passing the ball under pressure. Law Variations: You could insist that passers have only 3 second to make their pass, or risk losing a point to the defending team.

Warm Up


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