Improve fluency in catching and passing

By Mark Calverley, RFU Level 3 and IRB Level 4 qualified coach, and owner of the NZRFU Practicum award – the highest coaching award in New Zealand


Understanding how good technique helps fluency in catching and passing to develop skills that will lead to more efficiency and success.

Set up

  • A 20m x 10m box
  • A ball, nine cones (four blue, four red, one white)
  • Six players – a scrum half and a line of five others by a coloured cone
  • Red and blue cones in pairs to one side.

Improve fluency in catching and passing

What you get your players to do

You call either “Blue” or “Red”. The colour called is the defender group. White always attacks. Defenders touch their coloured defensive cones while the attack runs to the opposite line (see picture 2).

The defenders turn and defend against the inside players only leaving the widest attacker free.

The scrum half passes the ball when both defenders touch their defending cone. Both defenders advance together (see picture 3).


Arms and fingers reaching towards the ball but with a slight bend in the elbows – “shock absorbers”. Soft hands to catch the ball. Head beats hands – look where you are passing before you do so.

Bring the ball across the body – do not allow the ball and hands to drop (in a “U” shape pass). The outside foot should be turned slightly outwards when passing, so the passer naturally follows his pass and doesn’t fall away and lose supporting momentum.


Reduce distance between attack and defence. Defenders can defend against any player so the attack has to make decisions such as how/when/who to pass to.

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