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Top 8 Football Tryout Drills

Top 8 Football Tryout Drills

  1. Analyze an athlete’s strengths & weaknesses
  2. Identify new players
  3. Compare top players

These are three of the many reasons why football tryouts are held. And with every football tryout comes drills. We dive into the 8 football drills that can be applied at tryouts to accurately assess your players, helping you make more informed drafting decisions!

How do you evaluate a football player?

Establish relevant evaluation criteria (i.e., football drills)

Write out all of the skills you will be evaluating (i.e., tackling, passing, catching, offense, defense, character, etc..). For each skill, list out 1-3 football drills. However, make sure each skill has an equal amount of drills.

Evaluate athletes at multiple points throughout the year

Evaluations aren’t only important for drafting teams but also for ongoing development. Hold at least two evaluations throughout the year. These additional evaluations enable coaches to evaluate players on specific drills throughout the season and track their progress.

Provide athlete feedback

Telling a player after practice, “Work on your form when catching the ball,” is great. But what are the chances they will remember and apply that feedback?

This is where SkillShark comes in. Verbalizing feedback has a 98% chance of getting forgotten. Therefore, why not integrate this feedback into written reports?

  1. Download SkillShark on your iOS or Android device.
  2. Set up your evaluation template (customize your evaluation template or select a pre-filled template).
  3. Run your evaluations= score players.
  4. After the evaluation, send feedback reports. No data has to be configured; it is all done for you. Just select a player and hit “Send.”
Player reports on SkillShark

Individual player reports in SkillShark

Top 8 Football Drills

1. Football Catching Drill: Hands-Only

  • Pair up players, about 1 yard apart from each other on the field.
  • The receiver will remain on their knees for the entirety of the drill while the quarterback will remain standing up, lined up about 5 yards away from the receiver.
  • The quarterback will throw imperfect passes to the receiver.
  • The receiver must catch the ball by extending their arms, but without using their chest.
  • After 10 catches, the quarterback and receiver can increase the distance between each other.

Note: A perfect pass can be overthrown, under thrown, off-target, or poorly timed. The quarterback should vary the type of “imperfect pass” to catch the receiver off guard each time.

2. Football Passing Drill: Lead the Receiver

  • Mark two zones on the field with pylons, about 4 yards apart from one another. *These will be the only areas where the receiver can catch the ball.
  • The quarterback will line up with the ball a few yards behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Additionally, one receiver and one defender will be present.
  • On the quarterback’s call, they will throw the ball into one of the designated areas. The wide receiver will have to catch the ball in one of the open areas while defense tries to block the pass.

Tip: The quarterback should throw the ball into the designated area before the receiver enters the area.

Football passing drill

3. Football Linebacker Drill: 90-Degree Break

  • Line up your players in a single file line.
  • On your call, the first player in line will start by backpedaling on the yard line.
  • After about 12 yards, extend your hand to either the left or right side.
  • The player will then break at a 90-degree angle and sprint forward in the direction of your hand.

Note: This drill enhances linebackers’ reaction times, simulating situations where they need to react to changes in play and move laterally to cover passing routes.

4. Football Tackling Drill: Sack Attack

Set up:

  • Place pylons in a zigzag formation, about two yards from each other.
  • After the series of cones in a zigzag, place one more pylon five yards away.
  • Place a dummy around the corner after the last pylon.
  • Line up your players in a single file line.


  • On your whistle, the first player in line will start by weaving through the pylons, focusing on running and turning as fast as they can.
  • After running through the pylons, the player will rapidly accelerate around the corner to tackle the dummy.
  • The player will continue to drive the dummy down until it makes contact with the ground for 3-5 seconds.

Tip: As players are approaching the dummy at full speed, they should keep their eyes on the center of the dummy. They should aim to make contact with their shoulder pads, rather than their helmet to reduce injury.

Football tackling drill

5. Football Linemen Drill: Mirror Drill

  • An offensive lineman will start at the line of scrimmage. Another player will stand in front of them (about 2 feet away).
  • On your whistle, the lineman will pop up and take a series of lateral steps to directly mirror the player across them.
  • The mirror player will run back and forth, in a lateral motion, to try and throw off the offensive lineman.

Note: As the offensive lineman has to be quick on their feet to adapt to the direction of the “mirror” player, this enhances their pass protection ability during game scenarios.

6. Football Conditioning Drill: Later Shuffle & Cone Pickup

Set up:

  • Place 6 pylons together in a line (should be placed as closed as possible).
  • Set up as many stations as possible on the field.
  • Have your players stand 4 yards away from the pylons at the “starting line.”


  • On your whistle, players will shuffle laterally across the field, picking up the first pylon and shuffling back to the starting line.
  • Once they get to the starting line, they will drop the pylon on the ground and shuffle back to retrieve the next pylon.
  • Repeat this drill for 3 minutes.

Wrapping Up

Keep these 8 football tryout drills on hand. Comprehensively assess your players across core areas, such as: tackling, passing, and catching—resulting in enhanced player feedback and accurate drafting decisions!

Football on field

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FAQ — Football Tryout Drills

SkillShark is a leading evaluation software designed to assist coaches in assessing and improving the performance of football players. It streamlines the evaluation process by providing instant feedback reports after each assessment, saving coaches valuable time compared to traditional data entry into spreadsheets.

Yes, SkillShark is a versatile tool suitable for evaluating athletes in various sports. While this blog focuses on football, SkillShark can be applied to multiple sports, making it a valuable resource for coaches across different disciplines.

• Customize evaluation templates
• Score athletes on your mobile device
• Instantly access player data
• Provide player report cards
• Compare & rank players
• Draft teams on the app

Yes, SkillShark can be used for football evaluations across various skill levels, from youth players to professionals. Coaches can adapt the assessment criteria and templates to suit the developmental stage of the players they are working with.

If you have any more questions or need further information, don’t hesitate to reach out to SkillShark’s support team for assistance at

Absolutely! SkillShark is suitable for coaches at all levels, whether you are working with youth players or professionals. The customizable templates and flexibility of the app make it adaptable to your coaching requirements, regardless of the players’ skill levels. Customize the evaluation template with beginner football drills of your choice, then get to scoring and analyzing these football players.

You can measure football players on skills such as:
• Passing
• Tackling
• Catching
• Blocking
• Agility • Game Sense

1. Choose football tryout drills 2-3 weeks ahead of time.
2. Select evaluators 1 week before and communicate with them (i.e., run through the drills and explain what they should look for at each station they are evaluating).
3. Focus on positive relationships. Take the time to get to know athletes and provide verbal tips for improvement when you can.

SkillShark offers a free printable football tryout template. All you have to do is download and print, then you are ready to evaluate!

While we do offer a football evaluation form, we do recommend checking out the SkillShark app, removing pen-and-paper evaluations.

A well-structured football practice plan ensures you make the most out of your available time.

1) Set clear objectives of what you want to accomplish.
2) Schedule the necessary football drills & game scenarios.
3) Include time to properly take notes and provide verbal feedback during practice.

From getting your equipment ready, setting up drill stations, and assigning staff roles, a football tryout checklist ensures you don’t leave anything out!

Danielle Stringer

Danielle is a dynamic content marketer with a unique blend of creativity and analytical expertise. She is driven by her passion for helping companies scale through lead generation, always finding distinctive ways to connect with her audience. Drawing from her extensive background in B2B SaaS, she is thrilled to apply her skills and knowledge in her current role at SkillShark Software Inc.