PASSING AND catching are two of rugby’s core skills, so it’s vital that young players understand that they are passing to team-mates who want to catch the ball, not drop it!

That’s why coaches should encourage their players not to spin-pass until they reach U11s or 12s. Even then, only put spin on the ball when it’s necessary. Saracens and England fly-half Charlie Hodgson is one of the best passers in world rugby but he still regularly uses a simple push pass, which is far easier to catch.

When the time does come to learn how to spin-pass, start by throwing one-handed passes – and always practise passing off both hands.

Practise in pairs, standing opposite each other like gunslingers, with feet, hips and shoulders facing where the ball is going so as to avoid body rotation. The passer should hold the ball on his hip, gripping the back third of the ball, with his elbow cocked, ready to ‘fire’.

Exaggerate the movement, punching the arm out, as if pushing a door open, spinning the ball with fingers and wrist. To ensure an accurate pass, aim your hand at the receiver and that’s where it will go.

Step 1: Start by throwing one-handed passes. To begin, stand like a gunslinger holding the ball on your hip

Step 2: Face the intended receiver and cock the elbow back, ready to fire, gripping the back third of the ball

Step 3: As you release the ball, snap your arm out and turn your wrist to rotate the ball

Step 4: Aim your arm straight at the target, and that’s where the ball will go!

This article appeared in the April 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.

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