The other day we had a look at drills to help you recover fumbles, and today we’re going to have a look at how to prevent them. There are
three different stages to every run: the beginning, the middle, and the end, and they are all crucial to maintaining ball possession.
The beginning is the hand-off, something you just can’t afford to overlook in practice, especially when you consider how simple the drill is.
Simply set up two lines, both facing each other, somewhere between 5-10 yards away from each other. With a ball at the front of one of the lines.
Then have the two players run towards each other, extending the ball out to the other player, and taking the hand-off with proper form. The inside elbow should be raised, with the outside hand coming underneath to
form a pocket that the player handing the ball off into can drop it in securely.
Bracing The Ball
Learning how to properly brace the ball for a tackle is huge for any ball carrier. The positioning is similar to that of the hand-0ff drill, in that you will bring the ball over your stomach, curled in tight on top of your forearm underneath, with the other arm coming over on top of the football.
While this isn’t a ball position you want your runner to always be carrying the ball in, it’s important for them to learn to brace themselves when receiving the ball over the middle, or attempting to push through the goalline.
Getting The Last Yard
As we all know, football is a game of inches. And fighting for that last yard – or inch, can make the difference between a fourth down and a first down, a turnover on downs or a touchdown, a win or a loss.
But you don’t want your players overextending themselves, putting themselves in a place where they are vulnerable to injury because they were trying to get a first down.
That’s why instead of fully extending their arms, I teach my players to keep the ball curled into their forearms as they reach out, greatly reducing the risk of injury.