Progressing High School American Football Running Back Tips

Conditioning: Dot drilling

Strength and reaction time is what makes a great football athlete. For this reason, coaches like this drill for its focus on speed and accuracy. Setting up this drill is very simple, you will need five markers placed about a foot apart in an x formation with one of the dots being in the center surrounded by four other dots in a square formation.

This drill begins with the player starting on two of the outer dots and jumps feet together to the middle dot and then out again to the edge dots separating their feet. Next the player will jump touching each dot with on leg only, and then switch using the other leg. After this, the player will touch all of the dots with both feet together. The last phase is really returning to the original starting phase of jumping together and apart, however this time the athlete will change directions after they have jumped to the outer dots. Because this drill is intended for accuracy and speed, it is recommended that players start out slow and deliberate and then speed up to their maximum time.

Prevent fumbles with strong techniques

One of the fundamental aspects of running with a football is ball security. Football teams have lost many games because a couple of players were lax in there ball carrying and fumbled the football. There are four points to protecting the football. The first point is the claw, meaning that your fingers are wrapped over the tip of the football. The second point is making sure that your forearm is wrapped tightly on the outer rim of the football. Third point is to have the ball held tight against the bicep to prevent defenders from punching up through from behind. Last point is to hold the back of the football right up against the ribcage and as you run keep it high and tight. Practice holding the football and having defensive players try and knock out the football by any means possible. By reducing the risk of a fumble you will increase the offensive strength in effectively driving across the field and scoring touchdowns.

Practicing the Hand off

Running backs should constantly practice the hand off. A simple drill for a hand off is to line up all of your running backs in two lines facing each other in what we will call line A and Line B. A player leaves line A with the football and runs at line B. At the same time that the first player leaves player B leaves his line towards player A, as they pass each other in the middle player A hands off the football to player B. At this moment another player leaves line A and accepts a handoff from player B. It should be a constant motion. This is a great drill to help running backs practice hand offs, and should be run every day.

Points on tackling safely and effectively

Learning how to perform a proper tackle is fundamental to the game of football. If executed poorly not only will you not succeed in stopping the offensive team, but you could possibly injure yourself in the process. When you tackle your opponent remember three important steps:

First is to cut off your opponent by placing yourself directly in front of them. Plant your cleats in the grass squarely in front and in the middle, bisecting the player in half. At the same time you want to bring your arms back in anticipation for the next phase.

Second you want to bring your other foot into the mix, and at the same time throw your arms up and around your opponent. Now is the time that injuries can happen. The one golden rule in making a safe tackle is to never, ever lead with or try to tackle with the crown of your head. You need to literally imagine that the football is a big hamburger and you want to bite it and not slam your forehead against it.

Third, throw your hips up and hard as you drive the offensive player backwards. The squarer you are in the first step the easier it will be to perform the third step.