Overhead lob pass

The overhead lob pass is used from time to time in rugby. Useful when play is at a fairly slow pace with opposition players between the ball carrier and support.


You will master this pass easily when you know the basics of passing.

As the name (lob) suggests this is a fairly slow and gentle pass. But it can be turned into a long and powerful throw if required.

It can be used in many different situations of play where the opposition and your own team have mingled to some extent.

Any opposition players between you and your support players means fast, normal passes (waist or chest height) cannot be used because they would either hit or be intercepted by the opposition.

Overhead lob of a rugby ball starting position Overhead lob, start

The ball can be lobbed over the opposition into a space for support to run on to or directly over the top to a waiting player.

This pass can be made one handed or two handed. The action is almost the same.

The images show two handed, starting with a "cage grip".

This pass is similar to the throw the hooker uses to put the ball in to the lineout.

Remember, you can do it one handed if that is the best way at the time.

You draw the ball back over and behind your head. The longer the pass the further you draw back the ball.

Swing your arms forwards and release the ball. Experiment! Throw at the goal posts.

Release behind your head and the ball will rise. Release overhead, the ball will go parllel with the ground.

Some overhead lob variations

The further the distance to the receiver and the harder you throw the ball the more it becomes a throw rather than a lob.

Overhead lob pass of a rugby ball finishing position Overhead lob, finish

Nothing wrong with that, just a difference in terminology!

This is very much how the hooker throws the ball at lineout time making sure to add spin for distance and accuracy.

Adding spin is not necessary for the lob. The lob requires more wrist and finger action for accuracy over short distances.

Easy to practice lob against a wall (with a target drawn on it?) or into a basketball hoop or into thin air. Run and pick it up. Do it again and again and again.

It could be used like a football (soccer) throw-in to hurl the ball a huge distance - but I haven`t seen it done yet.

Main points

  • one or two handed, long or short pass
  • ball draw back behind head

  • wrist and finger action for accuracy
  • follow through with fingers, apply spin if required

There are many other passes. Make sure you have the right one available for the job. Master them all.