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Here is a simple passing drill with some key points for you to emphasise.


Heads up Passing

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Tell the players the following:

    • 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.
    • Players should change positions in the line following each attack.
    • Focus on the coaching points - the drill is only a means to an end. No spin passing.
    • 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.
    • Once the teams have master that - lets get all four units running at one. The firt two groups go, when they each the mid-way point - the second two groups go. This will mean that all four gourps will be working at one.
    • The groups keep moving unit you tell them to stop.
    • Devlop this by alowing players to attack and be creative in their attack e.g. loop, M1, etc.
    • There will be lots of traffic, they need to stay on their toes and work hard to keep the attack and the ball alive.

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.

    • Players should work to keep the tempo of the session high, increase the pace of the session - allowing players to experience success.
    • 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.
    • Players need to stay on the balls of their feet, using changes in footspeed, side-steps, spins ect. in order to avoid traffic.
    • As the session progresses the players must work at pace, and keep working!

Keep small groups of 3 players working in small channels of no more than 3 meters wide by 10 meters and pass left then right reminding them to stay close and use quick hands. They must be able to pass in both directions in that 10 meter channel before they reach the end. Start at a jogging pace then increase the pace as they successfully achieve the goals set. Once they have learnt to pass laterally then widen the area until they can pass on a 10 meter area. Communication is the vital area for them at all times. Calling to each other and running off each other so passing becomes a natural tool for them. Running their lines for 15 to 20 minutes each session will allow them to become more confident.

Dean, If it is the pass they are having problems with the passing / target skills would help or maybe add the "Push pass" for those having problems with the spin pass? However the pass is only half of the problem - you also need to look at alignment of support without the ball (depth, position, communication) and also what they are doing with the ball in hand (i.e are they drifting) - working on a good "inline" run with the ball in hand will not only help preserve space out wide, but will help attack "drift" defence that most teams operate.

You don't say how old they are....

I think the 1st thing to consider is that we have to make passing very basic for them. Spin passing is an advanced pass and thus should be something to progress to, not from.

I think the push pass is always the best pass to teach as a basic pass and move on from, as it uses the elbows and waist to direct power from.

I always use intense handling sessions to improve passing and they DO NOT include running up and down passing in a line. I play Rugby Netball, keep ball as part of a 20 min warm up before moving into 2v1s, 3v2s, 4v3s and then full game. I think the most important thing for the coach to do is control the conditions and how much pressure you place on the players.

Most importantly....Make it fun!

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  • search our library of 1100+ rugby drills
  • create your own professional coaching plans
  • or access our tried and tested plans