Ball security. Protecting the rock. Cradling the egg. Whatever you want to call it, preventing fumbles is invaluable, and almost expected from your runners. While a coach can live with an interception here and there – it’s part of the risk of passing the ball, a fumble will drive him absolutely crazy. It’s extremely easy to prevent, and a runner, no matter how gifted he is, will quickly lose the confidence of his coach if he can’t hold on to the ball.
And while players may be used to protecting the ball through the first 3 and a half quarters of the game, a defense that’s down with little time left is going to focus less on completing the tackle, and more on trying to get the ball loose. This is something that all of your runners need to understand in late game situations.
One of the best ways to teach skills to players is to put them in situations that are immensely more difficult than anything they would ever experience in the actual game – once they’re good at that, handling the simplicity of in-game situations is like taking candy from a baby.
That’s where these two running back drills come in.
Up Down Strip Drill
Learning how to always keep the ball in a position of safety is a tough thing for more running backs – usually your human instincts to break your fall or regain your balance will put your arms out in a position where a defender would be able to poke the ball away. This drill does a great job of teaching players they always need to be ready for a strip attempt.
Start with the running back lying face down on the ground, ball in hand, with another player on the same side he has the ball on. From here the drill is simple: the running back will get up on the coach’s command, and the
defender will try to strip the ball. The coach will command the player to go up and down at his behest, and the defender meanwhile will be trying to strip the ball at any opportunity they see.
Two Side Strip Drill
This drill is really fun for the players, and a real test of strength, endurance, and willpower. Have your running back line up with two defenders, one on each side. Now on your command, the running back is going to run 10 yards forward as fast they can, but with one catch: both of the defenders will be prying away at the ball the entire time.
Would you ever see this situation in a game? Probably not. But if your running back can handle two linebackers with a 10 yard window to strip the ball loose, think about how easy dealing with one defender who’s main priority is to make the tackle!
If your still having problems with ball security, I’ve got a couple more football drills that should help do the trick! Check ‘em out!