The pickup in Gaelic Football was introduced to prevent players from performing rugby style dives on top of the ball, smothering it and slowing play. The technique has been drilled and perfected to the extent that a player can chase a ball rolling away from them and still complete the action.
The technique revolves around stepping over the ball and using the strong foot under the ball and scooping it up into the open palms of the hand, which are facing backwards and the ball is pulled up into the chest.
The ball must be lifted by the foot when it is on the ground. Lifting the ball directly off the ground will cause a foul.