Rugby passing basics

Rugby passing basics are the things common to all good rugby passes. You play rugby well when you are good at passing the ball in a multitude of situations.

You do well in a rugby game when you control the ball.

Prepare well so you make good passes by making the best start with how you hold the ball.

Be sure you hold and handle the ball well before going on to actual passes, If you have not seen it already, check out "Core skills" for how to handle well.

Preparing well

You pass well when you focus on just a few simple things

  • in relation to your position on the field, your hands must direct the ball back or level, never forwards
  • be certain of your target

  • keep your eyes and mind on the target
  • develop good body/eye co-ordination

  • put yourself in the right place at the right time
  • choose the right pass for the situation

Pass to a player "behind" you

"Forwards" means towards the opposition dead-ball line in relation to the ball carrier`s position on the field.

Rugby rules state the ball must not be passed or thrown "forwards".

Always aim to pass "backwards" - to a player who is "behind" you. You will rarely throw forward accidentally.

A player may be 5 metres away to your right and 1 centimetre behind you. You may pass straight to their body and it would not be a forward pass.

You would be cutting it fine, it would be hard to catch and it may even be ruled a forward pass by the match official

You are better to pass to a player who is far enough behind you to allow you to pass the ball out in front of them and yet still not be directed forwards by your hands.

Although the ball may not be thrown forward the ball may sometimes travel forward and it can be ok.

Visit YouTube for an excellent explanation of the forward pass

You correctly identify the target

One of the rugby passing basics is to correctly identify the target of your pass.

The real target is not a player, it is a position in space where your target player may best catch the pass.

If the player to receive the ball is stationary and likely to remain there then you pass within arms length of the player.

If the player is moving, you must put the ball out in front of them allowing the player to reach out for the ball as they run towards it.

The ball is best put between waist and chest height of the receiver.

A little too high is better than a little too low and a little too far in front is better than a little too far behind.

If a pass is too low you tend to stumble as you try to take it. It`s easier to keep running if the ball is high, even if you have to make a small leap.

If the pass is too far behind it ties you in knots and really slows you down, whereas out in front you just have to speed up a bit to catch it.

Focus eyes and thoughts on the target

In rugby games there is a great deal competing for your attention - sights, sounds, feelings, noises and smells.

Not to mention tacklers!

When you are about to pass you have already done much of the work.

You have identified your target and you must continue to focus on your target.

It may well be far from easy.

Train often because you are enthusiastic.

Make sure you look the part.

Wear the right gear and take good care of it.

Own your own good quality ball and play with it.

Strange, but these are some of the rugby passing basics. It all goes to make you feel comfortable and confident with the ball.

What you do off the field affects what happens on the field.

On the field you move around boldly.

You believe in yourself.

The more you train and practice the stronger, fitter and more skilled you are and the sooner you will be able to concentrate and focus your thoughts on your target.

Select a target close enough to you to be sure you make a good pass. Let them know if they are too far away.

It`s better if you do this before the ball gets to you but you can improve things by running towards support rather than away from it,

Aim to improve eye/body co-ordination

You already know about one of the rugby passing basics. You concentrate on looking at and thinking about the target.

If your attention is divided, your target will be a fuzzy, indefinite. Your body would not find it easy to move the ball to the target.

You need a crystal clear target so your body has an excellent impression of what is required. How high, how far, how fast.

Combine this with plenty of practice.

Train and practice well.

Be fit and hard.

When you train well you will be consistent during a game and your skills will hold up until the end. When you get tired, the first real effect is to reduce any skills you have!

Work hard on your fitness and basic skills. It will all show.

It will tell the other players you mean business. Body language is hugely important.

Follow good, detailed instructions on how to make passes. Quality instructions will help improve your coordination.

Remember, concentrate on the target think about passing and your subconcious mind does the rest.

Have quality images of yourself in your head as you do what is required to pass well and make all your passes catchable.

Your body will move to the best position. Making sure all your body parts are co-ordinated to achieve the pass you want.

Your mind and body know how to pass

Because you have done it so well and enough times before the one that matters!!

You have trained your body. Thinking repeatedly about passing and by doing the same things over and over so you know the best pass to use.

You kept focusing on the target.

The results were perfect passes which you then repeated. When the passes were not perfect you worked again and you improved.

Rugby passing basics is very much about what goes on in your mind.

You position yourself well for the pass

In mastering rugby passing basics you learn to move well. You co-ordinate your movements with those of other players who are potential receivers of your pass.

To do this you watch the game closely as it unfolds.

Examine the performance of other players and know their abilities.

Are they positioned well?

If not can you make up for it by adjusting your position.

Know your own abilities and work to improve them.

Do you have enough space and speed to get through that gap or would you be better making a good pass well before you have to?

Know the abilities of your team mates.

What angles are they running/likely to run. Know how fast they can run and take it into account. Use the knowledge to put the ball just the right distance out in front of them.

Weigh up what is going on. Which support player is most likely to advance the ball if you pass it to them. Or can you take advantage of their run by not passing the ball to them.

You make a pass that is easy to catch

Another of the rugby passing basics is to make sure the pass is catchable!

A wobbly looking pass that is caught is better than a fantastic looking pass that the receiver cannot hold.

You select the right pass

When you select the right pass you give the ball the maximum probability of the receiver hanging on to the catch.

Work hard and develop a good range of passes then select the right one for the job. When you have had enough practice you will do it instinctively.

Use your whole body to the maximum when making the pass.

Fingers, arms, torso and legs provide the power.

Fingers, arms, torso and legs provide the guidance.

Examine the passes and your own performance. Work out what is important for each pass so you KNOW IT rather than know what you have been told about it. There is a big difference.