Running Back Drill Series

Oct 28, 2012 | Drills, Running Backs, Position Groups

Here is an everyday drill progression that I have always used with my running backs. Places an emphasis on holding on to the football at all times. Only takes 3-4 mins max.

Drill #1 – Hops

Purpose: Reps proper running form with a football in one arm. Practice keeping the ball "high" and "tight."


  1. All backs will start sitting on a line with their legs out in front of them and the ball tucked in the "high" position of the right arm.

  2. On "hit" the players will begin running in place with only the arm motion. The ball should be gliding along the side of the players body and the running motion should be forward and fluid.

  3. On the whistle, the back will move the ball into the "tight" position and continue running in place.

  4. On the next whistle the ball will go back to the "high" position and then back into the "tight" position. The total drill should take 20 sec. for the right side and then another 20 for the left.

Coaching Points:

  1. Keep the elbow tucked and drive it back when running. No outward motion.

  2. Maintain 5 points of pressure in the "high" position.

    1. Fingers over tip, palm on side, forearm tight to the side, bicep locking in back tip and armpit / chest to control the back tip.

    2. Add the interior chest as a 6th point of pressure in contact zones. It should serve as the other hand.

  3. Off arm should remain locked at 90 degrees with the hand open in perfect running form.

  4. The butt should get off the ground if they are running correctly and hard enough. If not, repeat.

Verbal Cues:

  1. "High and Tight"

  2. Drive Elbows

  3. Vision through your eyebrows

  4. 5 / 6 points of pressure

  5. "We do not fumble"

Drill #2 – Form Running

Purpose: Next step in the ball handling progression. Reps proper running form with a football in one arm. Practice keeping the ball "high" and "tight."


  1. All backs will on a line with the ball in both hands in front of their body. Stance should be balanced and the eyes should be down the field.

  2. On "hit" the players will flip the ball into the air and catch it with both hands. They will then tuck the ball in the high position to the right side and break into the prescribed drill.

    1. Form Jog

    2. Form Skips

    3. High Knees

  1. The player will carry out the drill for 10 yards with the ball "high" and then break into a sprint with the ball in the "tight" position.

  2. Turn around and go back with the left arm and repeat with the other drills

Coaching Points:

  1. Catch and tuck in the "high" position.

  2. Don’t run till the ball is tucked in the high position.

    1. Once they get better at the drill, have them move to the side they are going to tuck as they toss / catch the ball.

  3. Remind them of the running form information from the "Hops" drill.

  4. Stress the explosion into the sprint and through the goalline. Score the ball every time.

Verbal Cues:

  1. Watch the ball into the tuck.

  2. Focus on form.

  3. Smooth arm motion.

  4. Drive elbows.

  5. We do not fumble.

  6. Score the ball