Defensive Back Drills
Defensive back drills
are an extremely important aspect of developing quality cornerbacks and safeties in the game of football.
Defensive backs need to develop quite a variety of football skills while working through these defensive football drills. Reaction skills are, of course, of great importance. DB's must be able to run with the offense's best athletes, shed blocks from players bigger than they are and develop solid, fundamental drop-backs; then burst forward to support the run.
There is also the need to overcome the offense's three greatest advantages:
1) Wide receivers know where they're headed
2) Quarterbacks know when the receiver will break and, therefore, when to release the ball.
3) The defensive back is back-pedaling while the receiver is running forward.
Coaches - Here's a tip on where to find those corners and safeties good enough to plug into the following defensive back drills. Look on the basketball court! If they can outrun and outjump players on the court, they can probably do it against quality receivers on the gridiron.
Remember, also, that defensive back football drills alone can't give your secondary a quality they must come in with: tough skin. These guys are exposed out there and when they get beat, there's no place to hide.
One missed tackle or blown assignment can result in a quick six
for the opponent. You'll need to find football cornerbacks and safeties with the mental make-up to say, "Don't worry, I'll get 'em next time!". You can't overcome any lack of confidence at the defensive back position.
All right, enough of all that. We're going to assume you've found the athletes fit for the job. Let's get into the defensive back drills that'll get your secondary creating turnovers and winning football games for you.
Defensive Back Drills
DB Back Drill #1
Objective - Teach DB's the proper fundamentals of the backpedal.
Action - Align your defensive backs into two, single-file lines at the sideline. Coach stands between the two lines and on his signal, the first player in each line backpedals out to the hashmarks. Continue with the next one in line until each defensive back has a sufficient number of reps.
Coaching Details - Their feet should be shoulder-width apart. Keep your DB's low, bent at the waist, shoulders over the thighs with their weight distributed evenly over the balls of the feet. Be sure the players' eyes are locked on yours as they backpedal in a straight line (use the yard lines to keep them straight).
You need to basically relate to your defensive backs that they're reversing the mechanics of running forward. Have them swing their arms back as they take each step to help move the body backward (just like you do to get the body going forward when running normally).Defensive Back Drill #2
Backpedal & React to Ball Drill
Objective - Teach players to backpedal, then react to where the ball is thrown.
Action - Start this defensive back drill the same as Drill #1. This time, as the DB's get to the hashmark, the coach points either to the right or left. The backs must break from their backpedal in the direction the coach points.
Coaching Details - Same as defensive back drill #1. Concentrate on getting your players to make a fast break in the correct direction. As a variation, you can have your DB's react to where you look and then throw the football to one of them.Defensive Back Drill #3
Objective - Develop flexibility in the hips.
Action - Align your defensive backs into two, single-file lines at the sideline. On the coach's signal, the first DB in each line begins backpedaling. When the coach points, the players open up and run in that direction. Then the coach points in the other direction, the DB's pivot, open their hips in the new direction and run. On the next signal, the defensive backs break and move to the back of the line.
Coaching Details - During this defensive back drill, be sure your DB's stay low when changing directions and drive the near elbow to open up the hips. Don't allow the players to drift when turning and running. Emphasize correct stance, start and backpedaling fundamentals.DB Drill #4
Zone Turn Drill
Objective - Teach DB's the correct zone turn fundamentals.
Action - Align your defensive backs into two, single-file lines at the sideline. On the coach's signal, the first DB in each line begins backpedaling. The coach points to the right or left and the players then execute a zone turn and run to the hash mark.
Coaching Details - Emphasize correct stance, start and backpedaling fundamentals. Make sure each DB practices the zone turn to the right and left. Drive the near elbow to open up the hips. Emphasize the need to get out of the backpedal and into the sprint quickly. Watch for drifting during the defensive back drill.Defensive Back Drill #5
Centerfield Turn Drill
Objective - Teach DB's the correct centerfield turn fundamentals.
Action - Align your defensive backs into two, single-file lines at the sideline. On the coach's signal, the first DB in each line begins backpedaling. The coach points to indicate which direction the players should perform a zone turn in. The coach then points in the other direction, at which point the DB's execute a centerfield turn at 45 degrees.
Coaching Details - Emphasize correct stance, start and backpedaling fundamentals. Run this defensive back drill in both directions so players practice the centerfield turn to both sides. Make sure the DB's get their heads turned around quickly to find the receiver and football again.DB Drill #6
Backpedal Tag Drill
Objective - Work on backpedal speed.
Action - Position defensive back five yards from a receiver. On signal from coach, have the receiver sprint toward the DB to tag him. The defender works on gaining speed to his backpedal technique.
Coaching Details - Don't allow your players to break the fundamentals they learned in defensive back drill #1 as they now concentrate on the speed of their drops.Defensive Back Drill #7
Backpedal Weave Drill
Objective - Teach DB's to stay in control and leveraged in their backpedal technique as they react to a receiver's breaks.
Action - Align your players at the sideline in two lines just like defensive back football drill #1. This time, as the players backpedal, the coach signals which direction to weave. The defensive backs should weave in an "S-pattern" while staying in the proper backpedal technique (use hips and feet to aid each change of direction). At the hashmarks, the coach gives a signal to break right or left.
Coaching Details - Again, don't allow your players to lose proper stance, form or mechanics as they add this new movement to the defensive back drill. The shoulders should remain square to the line. Feet shouldn't be crossed during this defensive back drill. This is a drill you should start slow and work up to full speed so your players have a chance to learn the correct technique. As a variation, you can throw the ball to one of the DB's on the hashmark break.DB Drill #8
Zone Protect Drill
Objective - Another backpedal defensive back drill that teaches defensive backs to cover the deep zone. Shows them it's possible to outrun the football and make the play.
Action - This one begins to incorporate the backpedal into more game-like conditions as you'll use a QB and two WR's for the DB to cover. Position a receiver on each hashmark with the defender five yards off the line of scrimmage in the middle of the field. At the snap, the receivers run go routes straight down the hashes while the defensive back backpedals ahead of them. As the quarterback turns to one side to throw, the DB rolls his hips in that direction and sprints to the receiver for the knock-down or interception.
Coaching Details - Help your players develop a nice, fluid turn out of the backpedal. Teach them to accelerate through their turn and break into the sprint quickly. Watch that the defensive backs take the proper angle, not flat to the sideline. Have the quarterback throw the ball high 20-25 yards down the field.Return from Defensive Back Drills to
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