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Handling Basics

The fundamental handling skill for all players, regardless of their position is the lateral pass. Passing the ball forward out of the hand is illegal in rugby, so a good lateral pass will allow the receiving player to run onto the ball at pace.

What Makes a Good Lateral Pass

  • Move the ball across the body in one movement, this enables you to pass the ball in one flowing movement
  • Aim to pass the ball just in front of the receiving player. If you pass the ball so he or she can run on to it the attack will continue at pace, but if you pass at a player who is running, by the time the ball reaches the player he or she will have to slow down to receive the pass
  • When you are catching a pass, reach towards the ball. This presents a target for the passer and allows you to catch it early giving you a little more time with the ball
  • Catch the ball with relaxed or 'soft' hands. This will make it easier to control any misplaced or quick passes

Practicing On Your Own

Although it is always better to practice with someone it is not always possible, so all you need to practice on your own is:

  • A round ball (football, netball, tennis ball etc)
  • A wall

If you pass in a straight line against the wall you can practice the lateral pass and reception of the ball

  • Standing side on to the wall, start with the ball in hands, reaching away from the wall as if you have just received a pass
  • Move the ball across your body and in one motion release the ball and follow through to your intended target (the wall)
  • Your hands will then also be ready to receive the ball as it comes back to you
  • You may even be able to chalk a target on the wall for greater accuracy
  • Practice with the wall on your left side and your right

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