The speed of the ball does not mean a quick pass. The definition of “quick” here is in relation to the time of the ball in the hands of the passer. This is the “T”-time.
Key measures of a good pass
- Speed – Reduce “T”-time through the hands.
- Accuracy – The correct depth and at an appropriate height.
- Distance – The pass achieves the required distance to launch the next attack.
- Empathy – The pass is for, rather than to the receiver. A pass should begin to decelerate rather than still be accelerating when it reaches the receiver.
- Support – After passing, the next function of the passer is to provide support in order to maintain quick continuity of play.
In order to achieve the above outcomes it is necessary to modify specific key factors of the “classic” scrum half pass and produce a quicker, more flexible pass.
Shorten the base width
The base width is the distance between the feet. A wide-base provides more stability and the opportunity to swing the ball longer, resulting in great distances.
A shorter base is less stable but means less time in the hands, with the ball moving through the hands quicker (the “T”-time). The distance of the pass may be shorter initially, but, with practice and the other adjustments, it will not be significantly affected and may even be improved.
Weight-transfer and momentum
It’s better for the passer’s body momentum, and so their weight, to be towards the receiver. Therefore the scrum half should approach and address the ball from a more side-on stance. This has the added benefit of allowing the passer to “see” the receiver for longer, allowing more accurate passing skills.
Body height, head and shoulders
The traditional pass promotes a lower body position, keeps the head down and so keeps the ball from rising too high. It also helps achieve greater distance and control. However, with the adjustments to the approach, base and momentum modifications to body height, the head and shoulder positions must also be changed:
- More bend at the knees than at the waist.
- Keep the head up (think of a discus thrower).
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