Catching and passing drills that are essential

Sonny Bill Williams offloading while under pressure

Whether you are an 8-year-old or a professional rugby player, you always need to work on catching and passing drills during the week. A great way to look at it is not to just practice it until you get it right, but to practice it until you forget how to get it wrong.

People always look at the spectacular feats of Sonny Bill Williams who is one of the best proponents of the offload. He is really amazing at the offload in contact situations with impeccable timing. This can however also be said for just about every other player in New Zealand and any of the island nations.

The success of offloading however shouldn’t be taught on its own and there is a time and place for it. The basis of it is however rooted in doing various more basic catching and passing drills.

If players start to understand how many of the nuances around passing and catching the ball there is, they will be far more effective on the field.

Some stats around passing in a game

At a top-level like the Rugby Championship, there are around 300 passes in every game. The Six Nations, which is often played in wetter conditions is not far behind with an average of over 280 passes per game.

Out of this, the scrumhalf is usually responsible for around 40-50 of the passes in a game.

If you compare this to the other stats in the game, you realize how critically important catching and passing drills are in your success.

  • Lineouts per game: 23
  • Scrums per game: 13
  • Kicks per game: 39
  • Rucks and mauls per game: 180 (more about this CRUCIAL facet in another section on the site)

So if you spend the majority of your time on practicing lineouts and scrums in a week, you are missing the mark.

Accurate passing and catching are crucial. Doing them in isolation is good, but you need to make sure that you progress this to more game-specific situations as well. Players need to get used to performing this accurately in situations they will encounter in games.

The different types of passing and catching drills that we will be looking at

All of these are important in their own right and have specific applications on the field. Players need to practice all of them and have a good understanding of when to focus on each of them.

Here are the sections we will be looking at:

  • Catching drills – if the pass is accurate but players can’t catch, it doesn’t help
  • Static passing drills – the most basic of passes but also the pass that should be used most and forms the bases of all the other passes
  • Spin passing drills – when you need to move the ball faster and over longer distances
  • Offload drills – the spectacular pass and a potent weapon on attack
  • Passing in motion drills – using each of the different passes in more game-specific situations

Working these respective drills into your practice routines liberally will pay off in a big way. Players will be empowered to create far more opportunities and score more often.