Running Backs and Ball Security

coaching football talking about ball securityWhen you’re coaching football, you want to talk to your running backs about the importance of ball security.

We start with the smallest fundamentals, like ball security. You take care of the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves.

Grip and Hold

If you’re going to run the football, you have to make sure you take care of ball security. The biggest ratio in football is turnover ratio. And if you can take care of the ball, you’re going to win games. When we hold the ball, we start out with the index finger and the middle next finger on each side of the nipple of the ball, which some people call the crosshairs.

We put the back tip of the ball in the player’s armpit and we squeeze on it. As the ball is tight right there between his armpit, forearm, and right on his hand, there should be no space between the forearm and the ball.

We don’t want it to get out loose where somebody can hit it, knock it loose, cause the player to lose his balance and all that. We take the ball and press it up against our ribcage. If the ball’s against the ribcage, now we’re protected pretty much every way.

Defenders, defensive players nowadays, they’re tall in order to steal the ball. They’re taught to hit hands, knock it down, come back, and punch it from here. If we’ve got a tight grip and hold, we can’t knock the ball out.

Running with the Ball

Now runners, since forever in football, have been taught to run with the ball in their outside arm. I agree with that to a certain extent. We want to get the ball in the outside arm as we’re running.

But as we start down the field and we change directions, we don’t want to change the ball from one hand to another. Sometimes a guy ends up getting hit. If he’s changing the ball, he loses it.

If we get in traffic and we’re in the middle, we’re going to get that ball in both hands. We’re going to have those hands just the same that they were one-handed–around the nipple of the ball and squeezed into his gut to where the ball can’t get out. We’re going to really protect that football.

Going Down with the Ball

When we’re going down, we’re not going to take that ball and put our other hand on the ground.  Sometimes you see runners who’ll put the hand on the ground. We don’t want to do that because that causes the elbow to come up. When his elbow comes up, somebody comes in, hits the ball, and knocks the ball loose. What we want to do, is if we’re going down, instead of doing that – and I’m not going to have him get on the ground here – put his other hand on it, turn his shoulder, and he goes on the ground and protects the ball.

We’re going to keep it in the same arm, the same time, the same protection. When we go to the ground, the other hand’s going to get on it, we’re going to roll up, and we’re going to protect the football.

Will you use some of the information in this blog post when you’re coaching football practice next? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments section below!

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Category: Football Coaching, Football Tips

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