EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Pass quickly – not longer

Faster passing shifts the ball to where the defence is not whereas long passes are easier to defend because the ball is in the air. Defences find quick passing more challenging because their focus is constantly changing.


Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 5-7
Game time: 10-15
Warm down time: 5-7


What to think about

My players are struggling to catch the ball away from the body.

One excellent strategy is to use mini rugby balls (such as souvenir balls), tennis balls or golf balls to develop the ability to catch the ball cleanly. Smaller balls are harder to catch into the chest and easier to catch in the hands.

Flat or deep starts?

This exercise works really well if the players start in a flat line and time their runs onto the ball. The second player waits until the first player has moved forward a metre or so before starting. The third player waits for the second player and so on.

Set-up

  1. Focus on catching the ball cleanly and away from the body (see picture 1).
  2. Keep the ball away from the body as you pass.
  3. Use wrists to control the accuracy of the pass.

What you get your players to do

Groups of three run across the 5m square, passing the ball as fast as they can. The player in the middle should aim to take and give the pass in one movement. When they reach the other group they pop the ball and the exercise continues. Keep changing the player in the middle and make sure players practise passing in both directions.

Reaching for the ball. Encourage players to reach for the ball, watch it into their fingertips and catch it away from their body.

Reaching for the ball. Encourage players to reach for the ball, watch it into their fingertips and catch it away from their body.


Development

Use groups of four instead of three in 5m square. Now the two middle players must take and give passes very quickly (see picture 2).

Introduce a “loop”, where the first player passes and then runs to the end of the line to receive the last pass. The other players have to step in to create space as well as pass quickly.

Faster hands. Three players start in a flat line, moving the ball quickly as they progress forward.

Faster hands. Three players start in a flat line, moving the ball quickly as they progress forward.


Game situation

In a 10m square, play 4v3, using fast passing to get the ball beyond the defenders and score (see picture 3). Each time they score, move the defensive line forward one metre. Use cones to mark where the defence start each time and challenge the teams to beat each other’s record of how close the defence started.

4v3 fast passing. Players need to rely on fast hands to move the ball beyond the defenders and score.

4v3 fast passing. Players need to rely on fast hands to move the ball beyond the defenders and score.


What to call out

“Keep the ball up when you are passing. Don’t drop your hands”
“Arms outstretched to catch the ball. Give the passer a good target”

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