Spin passing drills – moving it at speed

A scrumhalf with a spin pass to the left

The spin pass is a crucial weapon in every rugby player’s arsenal. For many players, it is often easier passing it to one side than to the other. It is however a skill that players can improve upon with the correct spin passing drills.

The spin pass takes more skill to execute than a static pass, but allows you to move the ball at greater speed between players. It is however of cardinal importance to put in a lot of time on this during practice to ensure players can:

  • pass both to the left and right
  • pass accurately
  • pass accurately while running at speed

Spin passing drills to improve passing to the left and right

Players suffer from bad passing technique at many age-group levels. It is also often seen at senior rugby level where crucial passes don’t go to hand because of bad passing.

It is important to learn how to pass with equal strength and accuracy both to the left and right… or get as close as possible to that.

With a spin pass one hand would mainly help in steering the ball in the right direction while the other would be pushing it. The one pushing it is the hand at the back.

Not having the proper mechanics in place with the hand providing the power, is often the main reason why spin passes go wrong.

The easiest way to start correcting it is by running through this basic static passing drill:

Spin passing drill in 4 easy steps
  • Line up two players facing each other about 4 meters apart
  • The ball carrier holds the ball in one hand against his hip
  • He pushes the ball forward while rotating his hand from the outside to the inside over the ball
  • The passing player ends with his hand pointing at the receiver

This drill should be repeated with the left hand and with the right hand. This is especially useful in pre-season and you should do at least 20-30 repetitions with each hand focusing on good form.

As players get more comfortable passing with each hand, you can increase the distance up to 10 meters.

Progressing your spin passing drills

The easiest way to progress your spin passing drills is by lining up the players next to each other (4 or 5) of them and letting them run and pass the ball.

Coaches often opt for players running the length of the field. That is however not very realistic in a game context. A more effective way of doing it is to shorten the distance and increasing speed.

Let the players run from the 22m to the goal line. They first start by jogging at about 50% of full speed making sure that the ball goes through the hands and reaches the end before crossing the goal line.

As players get comfortable with this you should increase the speed until they are running at full speed and still completing the passes successfully.