As a defensive back, your job is split into two parts. First, you have to shadow your assignment, attempting to discourage the quarterback from making a throw in your direction. But if the receiver manages to create some separation, or the QB forces the throw, you have to be attentive and aggressive.
By attentive, I mean you need to quickly assess whether you can beat the receiver to the ball. If you can, great. You’re going to want to either go for the interception, or if your not sure you could pick it off or it’s a situation where you don’t need a catch, a simple bat down will suffice.
The technique is as follows: with the back hand on your receivers hip, you’ll extend your front hand out to the ball and swat it down, maintaining contact with the receiver without pushing him out blatantly – we don’t want to teach our corners any habits that are going to get them flagged for pass interference.
But if your caught behind the receiver and the quarterback has made a good throw, making it impossible for you to beat him to the ball without getting a flag, you’ll want to go with the rake technique instead.
Here we’ll have the same idea as the bat down, but instead, were aiming to bring our hand down and through the ball, knocking it loose – right after the receiver touches it. The key to a successful rake is timing it so that you get your hand on the ball after the catch, but before it’s been tucked and tapped into the nook in the receivers armpit.
And if you’re looking for any other great tips, we’ve got a wealth of other top notch drills for your defensive backs!