While WR releases, stems, footwork and ball security drills are main components of receiver in-season individual periods, none of it can happen without the catch. In order to continue to keep his WR’s focused on catch mechanics, Bentley University WR coach Adam Griggs spends time every practice emphasizing the drill work that cultivate yards after catch. In this exclusive clinic report, Coach Griggs details his body clock drill, freeze catch and lock drills, reaction drills and over the shoulder tracking drills. Read the report....
By Adam Griggs
Wide Receivers/Special Teams Coordinator
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
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There are countless clinics, diagrams, texts, and even videos out there on everything from releases, footwork, stemming a route, ball security, agility and explosive running with the ball. But often we forget that YAC (yards after catch) can not occur without the catch. Here is a basic progression of drills that can been used by wide receivers at all levels to gain a constant focus of “eye discipline” and proper catching mechanics.
Body Clock Drill
As our offensive coordinator, Keith Levan (former University of New Hampshire wide receiver) says that the key to developing as a wide receiver is to catch as many “bad balls” as possible. This drill is key to creating muscle memory of proper catch mechanics in 8 positions around the body as well as full extension above the head and just slightly “over the top.” We call this drill “Body Clock.” This is an excellent partner warm-up during pre-practice or during the offseason (in particular on a leg day).
Players start no more than 5-7 yards away or a distance that they can each accurately hit the spots “around the clock.” They throw the ball to the following locations in order:
- Left Shoulder
- Left Ribs
- Left hip
- Right Hip
- Right Ribs
- Right Shoulder
They will throw the ball farther away from the body for additional challenge. Both players are working together, beginning from a loose position, and can have a slow relaxed foot fire, hands relaxed in the center of the body until the ball is thrown. When the ball is thrown, make sure the hands are loose and open, not clenched and snapping at the ball.
We stress that the backside hand is quickly and efficiently crossing the body to the catch position. We also make sure the receiver is dropping his hips and eyes to the catch position. We will “freeze” the ball in place as we catch it, with eyes to the tip of the ball. Have players judge themselves by asking, “Am I catching the front end of the ball? Middle? Or back end of the ball?”
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- Coaching points and film of the Freeze, Catch and Lock Drills that Coach Griggs uses to alleviate issues of WR’s peeking for contact.
- Coaching points and film of the Reaction Drill that Coach Griggs uses to help receivers identify the football immediately after coming out of the break.
- Coaching points and film of the Stay on the Move Drill that Coach Griggs uses to teach receivers to continue to work laterally through zones.
- Coaching points and film of the Tracking Drill that Coach Griggs uses to teach receivers the proper way to track over the shoulder vertical throws.
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While nothing will help a receiver become comfortable more than running full routes and catching footballs from his quarterback, these drills will allow your receivers to continue working their craft by focusing on the fundamentals. These drills cannot make your player an elite wide receiver alone, but the ability to supplement your workout with these drills can help isolate and fix flaws in your player's mechanics. Make sure these drills are executed with the highest attention to details, and if you expect to reach perfection, the improvements will show themselves in full 11 on 11 team segments of football.
Meet Coach Adam Griggs: Coach Griggs currently serves as the receiver coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He came to MIT after time at Bentley University. He has been at the college level for 10 years in roles that range from Offensive Coordinator, Special Teams Coordinator, and Recruiting Coordination while positionally coaching Offensive Line, Quarterbacks, Tight Ends and Wide Receivers. In his career, he has been invited to speak at clinics across the country as well as a has been a contributing author to numerous publications. He currently resides in Boston, MA.