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Running Back Drills: The Ultimate Guide for Youth Football

Running Back Drills: The Ultimate Guide for Youth Football

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The Foundation of Running Back Drills

It’s time to explain the nature of offense in football, aka the running back drills. This pivotal position drives the ball downfield, secures crucial first downs, and sprints towards the end zone for game-changing touchdowns. Let’s break down the essentials of ball receiving and explore drills designed to sharpen speed and refine footwork!

Youth Running Back Drills

When it comes to crafting a successful running back, skipping the basics just won’t cut it. Especially in youth flag football leagues, where the range of skills can vary widely, understanding and practicing the fundamentals is key.

Receiving the Football: Essential Drill for Running Backs

Getting the handoff right is where it all begins. Proper hand placement is crucial. Imagine this: Your arms are close to your body, your dominant arm stretched across your stomach, the other across your chest, forming an oval shape with your hands. This is the sweet spot for securing the football tightly against your torso as you receive it.

Holding the ball tightly and securing it close to your body minimizes the chances of defensive interference or botched handoffs. We suggest starting with this basic ball-holding technique before diving into more complex drills. It might seem simple, but mastering the fundamentals keeps you fumble-free throughout the season.

2-Step Handoff

Setup: Positioned a few paces behind the quarterback, the running back must be ready to move quickly towards them at an angle or directly.

Directions: After the hike, the quarterback takes two steps towards a predetermined side, meeting the running back for a seamless handoff into their cradled arms, allowing them to continue their route forward.

Tips: Ensure the running back moves as they meet the quarterback to maintain momentum, crucial for swiftly completing their route.

3-Step Handoff

Setup: Similar to the 2-step, but with the quarterback taking an extra step.

Directions: The essence remains the same – a close meet-up for the handoff, with the quarterback solidly placing the ball in the running back’s arms.

Tips: This can also be executed as a “stretch” handoff for effective fake-outs.

1-Step Fake Handoff

Setup: A quick setup where the quarterback moves one step before the “handoff,” with both players behind the scrimmage line at the hike.

Directions: It’s time to showcase those acting skills! A convincing fake handoff can make or break this play.

Tips: Selling the fake is key, with both players exaggerating the handoff movement to deceive the defence.

Stretch Fake Handoff

Setup: Begins a few yards away from the quarterback, ensuring a quick meet-up for the fake handoff.

Directions: The quarterback stretches their arm out, mimicking a firm handoff, while the running back continues their route, drawing the defence away.

Tips: Tight execution and clear communication ensure the success of this fake.

See these Running Back Drills in action


Running Back Drills: Boosting Speed and Footwork

For running backs, agility and speed are not just beneficial but essential. To dodge defenders and sprint towards the end zone, incorporating specific drills into your practice can significantly enhance your agility and speed.

Hop and Switch Drill: A Key Drill for Running Backs

Setup: Begin in a bent-over stance with feet shoulder-width apart, football tucked against your chest.

Directions: Hop forward, switch the football between arms, and alternate your landing foot to mimic in-game ball switching.

Pro-tips: Start by practicing the ball switch in place before adding the hop to ensure smooth execution.

Learn more about Hop and Switch Drill

Fast Footwork Drill: Vital Drill for Football Running Backs

Setup: Position two players (or a player and a marker) about 15 yards apart to simulate offensive and defensive roles.

Directions: Employ various footwork techniques to navigate around the defensive player while maintaining control of the football.

Tips: Incorporating flag-grabbing into the drill enhances agility and prepares you for game-day scenarios.

Running Towards Success

Running backs are the effective linchpins of any football offence, for they demand more than mere raw speed and agility. With all the drills incorporated into your training, you’re building the basic skills to navigate the field more efficiently than your opponents.

Remember that constant practice leads to perfection. You will make tremendous progress on the field by devoting time to mastering these drills. Whether you’re a coach looking to improve your team’s performance or a young athlete looking to hone your skills, these running back drills are your guide to success.

Evaluate Youth Running Back Drills with SkillShark

SkillShark is your ultimate coaching companion for youth football. Our innovative app allows users to efficiently track player progress, analyze performance, and streamline evaluations. Whether coaching beginners or grooming future running backs, SkillShark app provides the tools you need to nurture talent, foster development, and lead your team to success.

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FAQ — Common Questions About Running Back Drills

Hand placement ensures a secure grip, reducing the chance of fumbles and improving ball security.

The difference lies in the number of steps the quarterback takes before the handoff, affecting the timing and coordination of the play.

A well-executed fake handoff can deceive the defense, creating opportunities for plays by distracting defenders and opening up the field.

Good running back drills focus on improving key skills such as speed, agility, footwork, ball handling, pass catching, and blocking techniques. Some examples of effective running back drills include agility ladder drills, cone drills, shuttle runs, ball security drills, route running drills, blocking pad drills, and reaction drills.

The frequency of running drills in basic training can vary based on the training program and the goals set by coaches and players. However, running is fundamental in football training. Running backs often participate in various drills to enhance their conditioning, speed, and endurance. These drills, which may include sprints, shuttle runs, distance running, and agility drills, can be conveniently tracked and monitored using the SkillShark app, ensuring athletes stay on target with their performance goals.

Absolutely. A sports evaluation app like SkillShark transforms running back drills by:
Providing Detailed Insights: Quickly identify strengths and areas for improvement with objective data.
Saving Time: Automate performance tracking to focus more on actual coaching.
Tracking Progress: Motivate athletes by showing them tangible improvements over time.
Improving Communication: Easily share feedback and performance data with athletes, enhancing the training environment.
Giving a Competitive Edge: Use in-depth analytics to refine skills in ways traditional methods may overlook.

Lucy Jakoncic

Lucy is a strategy and results-driven e-commerce & digital marketer, equipped with her BBA in Business Admin & Marketing. She brings in knowledge and experience from both startup and corporate environments. Aside from her professional pursuits, Lucy is an admitted sports fanatic, she feeds her addiction through active involvement and her passion for the sport of MMA. Her sports-minded entrepreneurial spirit has been a strong addition as both a writer and marketing strategist at SkillShark Software Inc.