7 Drills to Teach Proper Pursuit Angles

Jul 15, 2018 | Defense, Pursuit, Fundamentals

By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
X&O Labs
Twitter: @MikekKuchar



1775-thumbAll great defensive coaches teach effort. But how to teach effort continually needs to be addressed. Maxims like “run to the ball,” or “get there quicker” are being quickly replaced with refined coaching points on how to take the correct angles in running to the ball carrier. These are several of the more efficient drills that we pulled from our drill film library that teach defenders the proper pursuit angles when closing in on a ball carrier.

1 on 1 Concept Drill

Jason Sedlak, Defensive Coordinator, St. Thomas Academy (MN)


We use this drill in summer practice and the first day or so of two-a-days to introduce and solidify the back hip concept. The ball carrier is to take an outside path and at some point in time try to cutback across the face of the defender. The defender should pursue to the back hip and know that the ball carrier will cut back into his pursuit path. We conduct this drill at ½ to ¾ speed to really solidify the concept and focus on the following coaching points:

  • Initial steps should be directly at back hip and bend as the ball carrier turns upfield.
  • Do not get out in front of the ball carrier and run to a point in space where he might go.
  • Close the distance with the ball carrier as fast as possible.
  • Shimmy/breakdown under control as the ball carrier cuts back.
  • Never let the ball carrier cross your face.

To see video of this drill, click on the video below: