You should incorporate passing under pressure into every training session, even if just part of a warm-up. Using this 10-minute progression will improve your players’ passing. MORE
Giving an accurate clearing pass should be a basic skill that all your players develop, just like running, passing and tackling. This session, “Clear it”, allows you to improve your players’ passing technique, while developing the decision making skills needed to fill in at 9.
Warm up time: 7-10
Session time: 15
Development time: 15-20
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7-10
What to think about
“We want to play like there are no numbers on our backs”, commented Sir Clive Woodward before the 2003 RWC. This statement sparked a big debate about whether players should be able to do any job on the pitch or stick to their own role.
In general, it is better to keep your half backs in their specialist positions as much as possible. They have the skills and decision making abilities to control the game for you.
However, it is not always possible to guarantee that your half backs can get into these positions, so all your players need to be able to make a good clearing pass to a receiver.
- Get in position to make the pass quickly.
- Get set over the ball and ready before passing.
- Give accurate passes to standing and moving receivers.
- Choose the right pass for the situation.
What you get your players to do
Set up 4 pairs of cones in two zig-zag lines (as the “Clear it” picture), with a ball on the first three cones of one line. Start the first player on the first cone with a ball and a receiver on the corresponding coloured cone. The passer passes to the receiver, who puts the ball down on the cone. Move onto the next pair of cones and repeat up the channel. The next pair of players repeat the exercise in the opposite direction.
- Vary the pattern of the cones so the players have to move in different directions for the next pass.
- Get receivers to vary whether they stand to receive the pass or run onto it.
Clearing touch: Split into two even teams and play touch rugby where the ball carrier and tackler go to ground after the touch. The ball carrier presents the ball and the nearest attacker steps over to simulate a ruck. The next nearest player gets in position, weighs up his options and makes the clearing pass. If any passes are dropped then possession is turned over. It is also turned if it is not the next closest player to the tackle who makes the pass.
What to call out
- “Don’t touch the ball until you’re ready to pass”
- “Take a couple of steps, following your pass”
- “Receiver: make a clear target for the passer”