Offloads are passes made from or after contact.
Standing offloads can be made by giving the body away to a tackler and using both hands to make the pass or they can be made with one hand around the body or ‘flicked’ with a back-handed motion. Offloads made while falling are more difficult, but are certainly worth practising because a receiver might be in the perfect position in this instance. Finally, a tackled player has a brief moment to do something with the ball, so an offload can be made from the ground. Typically, this involves a two-handed pass, but some players have been able to pop from ground with one hand. Players with big hands have an obvious advantage where one-handed offloads are concerned, but players with smaller hands can pull these off as well if they work on having a strong grip and/or are able to ‘cradle’ the ball between the hand and forearm.
Offloads should be made with intent and awareness from both the passer and the receiver. The ball carrier has to be aware of the supporting player’s position or at least be clearly purposeful about taking the ball into contact with the potential to offload. The supporting player has to consider the ball carrier’s positioning respect to which side he/she can pass from and the time it takes for them to hear, process, and act upon the call.
It should also be said there are times when an offload should NOT be made. Too often, offloads are thrown to players who do not expect them or are called by supporting players when the ball carrier is in a poor position to deliver or, oddly enough, when they are in a poor position to receive an offload (about to get hit, no space to exploit, too far back). One also must consider that there is no offside line when an offload is made, so a defender chasing the play is more than welcome to intercept. Tactically speaking, there are also offloads made when a pass elsewhere or setting a ruck (forcing defenders to get onside) would have been the better option.