Rugby: Types of passing and catching

types of passing and catching

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While they may all look the same, the different types of passes are all used in very different situations. Here are a few of the most commonly used passes, and how to effectively catch the ball thrown using these passes.

Spin Pass 

Also known as the spiral pass, the spin pass is one of the most frequently used passes in any game of rugby due to its wide range of uses. The ball travels over a longer distance at a faster speed when in a spin pass compared to most other passes, but can be much harder to catch, as the ball will be spinning quickly.

The spin pass is executed by a player holding the rugby ball with only his thumb on one hand and fingers on the other. Next, the player should draw his arms back away from the direction of the teammate he is aiming the pass at, before throwing his arms across his body in that direction. This is so that there will be more force involved in the pass and thus allowing the rugby ball to travel over a longer distance. Following this, the player will let go of the ball by pulling his fingers up in a flicking motion to ensure that the ball spins. For maximum accuracy, throw the ball at chest height.

Pop Pass 

Unlike the spin pass, the pop pass is most commonly used to get the ball to a nearby player over a short distance. This pass does not make the teammate a target, but instead tries to aim the ball at the position where the teammate will be at to receive and catch the ball at full speed. Hold the ball vertically, with both hands at the lower half of the ball, and flick both your wrist at the same time in order to project the ball upwards.

Dive Pass 

Also known as a scrum-half pass, the dive pass is often used when the ball is on the ground and when it is near the base of the scrum or in a ruck between both teams. As its name suggests, this pass involves the player diving while attempting to move the ball to his teammate.

The player should bend at the waist to pick up the ball from the ground with both of his hands. Next, he should position himself towards the direction of his teammate, while keeping the ball below his body. Once he has angled himself properly, the player should dive in that direction while bringing his arms up to release the ball and pass it to his teammate.


While it sounds simple, there is a specific way for players to catch the balls, especially when the ball is being kicked. The player should attempt to catch the ball by raising both hands upwards towards the ball before it reaches him. In order to catch the ball safely, lock both elbows in front of the chest so that the player is able to secure the ball. As for catching a pass from a teammate, the guiding principle is to place your hands outstretched, bend your elbows slightly and palms facing out towards the direction of the ball. Also, it’s important to keep eye contact on the ball instead of looking at your onrushing opponent.

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